effects of gravity can be cruel Even with a well-fitting, supportive bra, the ravages of time combined with breastfeeding and yo-yo dieting conspire to make once pert and firm breasts go droopy. In the past to remedy this a woman who wanted a breast lift had only one option: a major surgery known as a mastopexy.
Now, a new treatment — the Botox breast lift — is available. This new treatment promises instant results with no permanent side-effects and no recovery time.
Pioneered by a Thai dermatologist, the botox breast lift was first presented at the 2009 World Conference of Cosmetic and Anti-ageing Medicine in Monte Carlo.
The technique is now being used by anti-ageing specialist Dr Cecilia Tregear at the Wimpole Skin Care Centre in London’s Harley Street. ‘Injecting Botox in specific areas around the breasts tones and lifts the skin,’ she says.
‘It shapes the breasts, giving them volume and ironing out wrinkles caused by sun damage on the decolletage.’
Unlike similar Botox procedures, the technique involves injecting the botulinum toxin into the skin of the breasts and the surrounding area, not into the deeper muscles.
This, she believes, makes it more effective and less painful. The muscles aren’t ‘frozen’ and there’s no loss of sensation.
First, a local anaesthetic cream is applied to numb the skin, then Botox is injected all around and under the breasts. Dr Tregear says: ‘It’s important to inject all around the breast, from the front of the chest right up to the armpits. This allows the lifting of both breast tissue and fat.
‘Some small doses of Botox are also injected around the areola (the coloured part surrounding the nipple) to help with wrinkles and to boost a droopy nipple.’
There are no reported side effects. ‘There’s no pain, no bruising (?) and no downtime,’ says Dr Tregear. ‘You can put on your clothes and go straight back to work afterwards.
‘Due to the fact that the injections are intradermal (into the skin) and the doses used are a lot less than the ones used for armpit hyperhidrosis (excess sweating), I haven’t seen any side-effects, apart from the obvious ones that occur as a result of giving an injection, such as redness and potential risk of infections. But this applies to any treatment involving needles.’
So how exactly does the anti-wrinkle jab defy gravity?
The injection of Botox lifts the breast by contracting the small muscles in the skin and fibres, which tones up the skin.
Results are instantaneous, but the lifting and smoothing effects reach their optimum level a few days after the injection. For best results, patients are advised to have a top-up within three weeks of the first treatment, although this may not be necessary.
Dr Tregear says patients should expect to have fuller-looking breasts with smoother and neater-looking nipples and areolas. Breasts will be lifted by up to two centimetres and the increase in volume is about 10 per cent.
The results last for an average of six months — after which patients need to have it again — but it varies from person to person.
‘Some patients have a better response to Botox than others,’ says Dr Tregear. ‘There are important factors to take into account, such as exercising chest muscles, and not smoking, which make the results last longer.
But the procedure is not without its critics. Patrick Mallucci, a consultant plastic surgeon and member of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, is one.
‘Botox is used to inhibit muscle contraction, therefore smoothing the skin, but it does not serve to enlarge, lift or rejuvenate the breast,’ he says.
‘It is not designed to do this and it is misleading to state otherwise.’
And the bad news is that it won’t work with larger breasts. For woman over a 34C, this technique will not be effective. ‘The breast lift is most appropriate for women with small, sagging breasts,’ says Dr Tregear. ‘Large, saggy breasts are too heavy and so can’t be done with this technique.’