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Are InstaBreasts Worth The Hype?
The "InstaBreast" aka the "vacation breast" is a hotly contested, often-criticized procedure in which a saline solution, purportedly designed to last up to 24 hours, is injected into the breast. It essentially gives you a 24-hour boob job. Sounds pretty, pretty interesting, no? A way to test-run larger breasts? A quick boost for a hot vacation?
To find out whether this procedure lives up to the hype, we did some investigating, including a conversation with Charlotte's Book expert Dr. Tracy Pfeifer, who specializes in plastic surgery of the breast at her Park Avenue practice.
There is no surgery involved, and the procedure takes only about twenty minutes to complete. Costs are between $2,500 to $3,500. The Manhattan-based plastic surgeon who developed the procedure, Dr. Norman Rowe, says it's "an excellent way for women to see how their body might look before deciding on surgery." Women interested in looking their best for a wedding or other one-night affair have also turned to this solution, but 24 hours is the upper limit of survival—deflation (more accurately: absorption) of the saline can happen as quickly as one or two hours.
Although the initial intent was to help women see how their more permanent breast implants could look, Dr. Rowe is now working on a procedure that would last two to three weeks. "Twenty four hours is great," Dr. Rowe told ABC News, "but it's still just 24 hours."
Dr. Rowe won't disclose what's in the solution for the longer-term breasts, but he says it's already being used in the medical field. It's a saline solution mixture which will allow the non-implants to last longer and stay in place.
How safe is all this?
We asked Dr. Tracy Pfeifer if she would recommend the InstaBreast to her patients, and she told us that "injecting products into the breast is not a good idea."
"I do not recommend any type of injection into the breast, including fat," she continued. "There aren't any studies to show that these injections are safe and don't have an effect on breast cancer development."
There are no scientific studies on the consequences of repeated injections into the breast, but Dr. Pfeifer says that each time a procedure happens, there is a risk of infection and bleeding. Possible side effects include scar tissue, adverse effects on mammograms, and breast pain. "In addition, if a patient does get an infection and then goes forward with getting real implants, she could be at a higher risk of capsular contracture, which is when a hard shell forms around the implant."
Regarding the longer-term procedure, it's difficult to comment specifically on its dangers since Dr. Rowe hasn't disclosed the solution's contents, but Dr. Pfeifer is skeptical that it's something the FDA would approve. Generally, the FDA tends to be very conservative when it comes to green-lighting breast procedures; it took the major implant companies 14 years of very extensive studies to get a breast implant approved.
Will this catch on?
Dr. Pfeifer likens InstaBreasts to the many fake, unregulated supplements promising to "burn fat." "It builds false hopes and profits from one’s innate desire to look and feel her best," she says. "As patient satisfaction and safety are my top concerns, it is important to clear up all the hype around InstaBreasts. It is expensive and temporary. In my opinion, it's a gimmick." Are you genuinely curious what you'd look like with implants and want to try something on for size? Sophisticated 3D imaging is widely available, including in Dr. Pfeifer's office. Sizers can also be slipped into a bra, which is accurate, and much less invasive. Hoping to maximize your cleavage for a special occasion? Buy a gorgeous bathing suit or a stunning cocktail dress that plays up your assets, recommends Dr. Pfeifer. "You’ll have similar, or even better, results than getting InstaBreasts with zero risk and more money left in your bank account." Originally published July 27, 2015
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