Mon. Apr 22nd, 2024

For women who’d like bigger breasts but don’t want to have surgery, there’s now a nonsurgical alternative, the Brava® Breast Enhancement and Shaping System. Developed by Dr. Roger K. Khouri, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon, the Brava System applies the concept of tension-induced tissue growth, a long established procedure in reconstructive surgery, to stimulate the growth of new breast tissue.
The Brava System consists of two semi-rigid domes with silicone gel rims and a small computer, all held together with a sports bra. The self-regulating computer increases the tension inside the domes. This increased tension gently stretches the tissue of the breasts and causes new tissue to grow to fill the expanded area.

This sounds and even looks like science fiction. But the Brava System’s effectiveness is backed up by scientific evidence from clinical trials. Representatives from Brava demonstrated the device at the annual meeting of the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) last month (May 2001). And the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the apparatus for sale as a nonregulated medical device.

The device is designed for small-breasted women. “It’s not for women who already have a C-cup,” Khouri told MSNBC. “It’s for A’s and B’s who don’t want surgery but want to be a little bigger.” Most women who completed the clinical trials added about a cup size to their breasts, and many of the first trial subjects have maintained their new size 18 months after they stopped using the system. Brava says that its research has indicated that 16 million American women between the ages of 18 and 49 think their breasts are too small; further, Brava claims, 80% of these women indicated they would be satisfied with an increase of one-half to one full cup size.

Achieving this increase, though, is neither cheap nor easy. A patient must see a doctor who has been trained by Brava in proper use of the system. The company estimates that the cost of the system, including the frequent required office visits, will be between $2,000 and $2,500. And, for the system to work, a woman must wear it for 10 consecutive hours every day for 10 weeks. (And you can’t cheat. The same little computer that regulates the tension inside the domes also records the amount of time the user wears the device.)

Besides the cost, the biggest drawback to the system would seem to be the 10-consecutive-hours requirement. According to news reports, many women who participated in the trials chose to wear the device at night, which necessitated sleeping on their backs. This can be a difficult adjustment for someone not accustomed to sleeping in that position. The only risk associated with the system, according to Brava, is the possibility of dermatitis, or irritation of the skin, caused by an allergic reaction to the materials used to make the device.

Brava says that women who are pregnant or breast feeding, who have had breast cancer or a mastectomy, or who are under age 18 or whose natural breast development is not yet complete should not use the system.