The effects of gravity can be cruel to women, especially when it comes to breasts.
Even with a good bra, the ravages of time combined with breastfeeding and yo-yo dieting conspire to make once pert and firm breasts go droopy.And then there’s sun damage, which results in crepey, blotchy skin on the decolletage. In the past, a woman who wanting a breast lift had only one option: a major surgery known as a mastopexy.
This involves removing excess skin and repositioning the breasts. It’s very expensive at £3,000, requires several weeks of recovery time, and can result in a loss of sensation in the nipple area.
Now, however, a new treatment – the Botox breast lift – is available in the UK. This new treatment promises instant results with no 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.’
These are bold claims, but does the lift really work?
Elaine Hill, 46, from Weybridge, Surrey, was one of the first to undergo the procedure last month. A divorced mother-of-two, she had felt unhappy with her cleavage for the past year.
With her daughter Gemma’s wedding coming up in June — and hoping to start dating again after having been single for a year — she was keen to do something about her breasts.
She says: ‘I remember looking in the mirror about six months ago, and noticing that my breasts had drooped. I breastfed both my daughters, but I think it’s ageing that’s really taken its toll. Once I hit 40, everything started to head south.’
Elaine was already seeing Dr Tregear for hormone treatments, when she mentioned the new breast lift. ‘I like to take care of myself and have been having Botox in my face for eight years, so the idea of having it in my breasts didn’t scare me.
‘I wouldn’t do anything as drastic or expensive as surgery — I just wanted to give my breasts a boost in the hope it would make me feel more confident about myself.’
Unlike similar Botox procedures, Dr Tregear’s technique involves injecting the botulinum toxin into the skin of the breasts and the surrounding area, not into the 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.
‘I’ve even been wearing strappy vests with no bra, something I wouldn’t have dreamed of doing before. I think it will change the way I dress’
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.
Elaine says the treatment was virtually painless.
‘It didn’t hurt — I just had the feeling of tiny pinpricks,’ she says. ‘I didn’t even need any anaesthetic cream. Straight afterwards it felt as if I’d done a session in the gym.
‘I could feel my chest tightening. Almost immediately, my cleavage — which I thought I’d lost for ever — reappeared, with much smoother skin.
‘And after just ten minutes my nipple had already moved up by one centimetre. There was no bruising.’
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.’
Following her top up, Elaine, who is a 34C, is delighted with the final results, which have seen her breasts lift by a total of 3cm (the distance from collar bone to nipple is now 21cm, as opposed to 24cm before the lift).
‘Compared with how my boobs were before, they’re amazing,’ she says. ‘They’re much more like they were in my 20s. They feel firmer and fuller and the texture of the skin is much smoother.
‘They’re visibly higher and my nipples are much higher, too.
‘I’ve even been wearing strappy vests with no bra, something I wouldn’t have dreamed of doing before.
‘I think it will change the way I dress.
‘I’m much more likely to show off my cleavage now, and I know I’m going to look good when I give my daughter away at her wedding. I couldn’t be happier.’
But whether more women will be prepared to be injected with poison in a bid to boost their cleavage remains to be seen.
The Botox breast lift costs £700 at the Wimpole Skin Care Centre in London, 020 7935 8277
Source: The Daily MailShare