11:57 17 September 2009
A new procedure offering a natural breast enlargement has caused a lot of hype among doctors. Dubbed the "two-for-one" boob job, the operation takes fat from unwanted areas such as hips, thighs and stomach and transfers it into the breast area.
The technique, which has been adapted from existing reconstructive surgery using fat grating, has been tested in Britain and the US. Surgeons at the Harley Medical Group who will offer the procedure hope it will be commercially available to British women next year and is expected to cost around £8,000 (twice the cost of typical implants).
By using natural body fat instead of artificial implants, doctors believe the technique will offer several benefits, including a more natural shape compared with augmented breasts.
According to the cosmetic clinic, more than 2,500 women have already expressed an interest in the surgery.
Mel Braham, chairman of the Harley Medical Group, said: "This is the most exciting breakthrough in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery that I have seen over the last two decades.
Braham said the women who trialled the procedure four or five years ago have reported a lasting effect. He believes the technique will eventually become more popular than implants and dominate the market within 10 years.
However, rival cosmetic surgeons from Plastic Surgery Partners, also located on Harley Street - medicine's golden mile, are sceptical and have criticised the hype as "premature".
Dal Davies of the medical centre claimed that the technique of removing body fat by liposuction, and then injecting it into the chest had been tried for over 20 years, with limited success.
He said: "Where you are injecting small amounts of fat into the face, which has a good blood supply, there is good evidence this works. Most plastic surgeons would agree there is a place for it.
"But this involves injecting a large blob of fat into the breast area. Fat consists of living cells and living cells must have a blood supply, otherwise they die."
A study published in 'Aesthetic Plastic Surgery' in 2008 found that 230 who underwent fat transfer in Japan reported that, on average, half the fat injected was lost. Also, all of the women required a second procedure after a year.
It is also reported that there are fears that the dying fat cells could lead to micro-calcification in the breast area. This could potentially cause difficulty in breast screening and an increase in invasive biopsies to test for cancerous cells.
Braham of the Harley Medical Group has assured that, despite there being no Government regulation in place, his clinic will put patients' safety first.
He claims the results of an American trial to be presented soon will show a lasting success with the procedure.
"The results will be assessed by our medical board and, if approved, the operation will be introduced next year. I don't take risks with patients. I am confident this is a safe procedure," Braham said.
Doctors have experimented with various alternatives over the years to give women larger busts, including paraffin injections, ivory balls, vegetable oil, beeswax, silk fabric and glazing putty, however none have proved particularly viable.
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