WebMD Medical News
Louise Chang, MD
Oct. 26, 2009 -- Add breast lifts to the growing list of potential uses for
Botox. But not all experts think it's worth the trouble.
We already know that this wrinkle eraser can help treat excessive sweating,
banish frown lines, and put the brakes on certain eye muscle problems and neck
spasms. But it may also give breasts a temporary, mild lift, according to
experts at the annual meeting of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons
(ASPS) in Seattle.
A Botox breast lift involves injecting Botox into the pectoralis minor chest
muscle, which allows the back muscles to compensate by lifting the breast,
explains Karol Gutowski, MD, the head of the division of plastic surgery at
North Shore University Health System in Evanston, Ill. The lifting effect lasts
only as long as the Botox -- which is roughly three to four months, he says.
Botox is not approved for this purpose.
"The Botox breast lift is ideal for a woman aged 30 to 50 with an A or B cup
breast size who is looking for a temporary, modest or mild improvement in saggy
breasts," he says. "This gives them a little bit of a lift and costs about one
to two thousand dollars for both breasts."
On the plus side, there are no scars or surgery with Botox breast lifts; on
the minus side, they may not work all that well, he says.
"You can probably get the same effect by altering your posture," he tells
WebMD. "The muscle in question, the pectoralis minor, is covered by the
pectoralis major and it would be very difficult to target the smaller muscle
that is covered by larger muscle," he says. What's more, "other muscles of the
shoulder, back, and chest play a role, so it is very hard to believe that just
weakening the pectoralis minor would give any type of effect."
"I would give this two thumbs down," Gutowski says.
"Botox is a temporary correction and Botox breast lifts will cost a lot of
money because you are now using it for big muscles, not itty-bitty facial
muscles," says Walter L. Erhardt Jr., MD, a plastic surgeon in private practice
in Albany, Ga., and a past president of the ASPS. "I would go to the gym or
take posture lessons before turning to Botox for a breast lift," he says. "The
results will be longer lasting and it will be a lot safer."
There have been some reports of people developing various, sometimes
life-threatening conditions, including respiratory failure, after receiving
"I think it is safe," Gutowski says. "It is done with very low doses and
very unlikely to have any problems."
Another minimally invasive breast enhancement procedure discussed at the
ASPS meeting is cleavage rejuvenation. This involves injecting a filler such as
Sculptra into the cleavage to get rid of fine wrinkles. Sculptra is not
approved for this purpose. It is indicated for use in the restoration of facial
fat loss in people with HIV.
"The initial results look exciting," says Gutowski.
Richard J. Greco, MD, a plastic surgeon in Savannah, Ga., says that soft
tissue fillers such as Sculptra can be used to fill just about anything,
including cleavage. "It comes down to cost and how long it lasts," he says,
noting that the cost of using soft tissue fillers for larger areas on the body
may prove prohibitive.
SOURCES:American Society of Plastic Surgeons 2009 conference, Seattle, Oct.
23-27, 2009.Walter L. Erhardt, Jr., MD, plastic surgeon, Albany, Ga.Karol Gutowski, MD, head of the division of plastic surgery, North Shore
University Health System, Evanston, Ill.Richard J. Greco, MD, plastic surgeon, Savannah, Ga.
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