By Ng Wan Ching
19 November 2007
IMAGINE walking out of your doctor's clinic in 20 minutes with fuller, firmer breasts.
One doctor in town is offering just such a procedure which he says has no down-time and can be done during lunch hour.
Judging from what plastic surgeon Woffles Wu says, the future of breast augmentation may be changing.
It is now possible to have breast augmentation without implants.
Said Dr Wu: 'The method I have come up with is called Firma and uses a special formulation injected into the breast tissue and muscle found between the ribs.'
It's good for patients with floppy breasts, or for those who want to go from an A cup to B cup.
'It also works for patients whose breasts are starting to deflate,' said Dr Wu.
The technique does not leave behind a single scar he added.
This is different from the horror stories told by women who had silicon injected directly into their breasts.
The material that is injected is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is completely absorbable by the body, unlike silicon.
'I don't want to disclose all the details about the material I use, but part of it is made of hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring substance in the body,' said Dr Wu.
Each injection lasts about two years, then patients may need to re-visit the doctor for touch ups if necessary.
'During the time that the injected material is in the body, it actually stimulates collagen regeneration and water retention in the cells,' said Dr Wu.
This is good as collagen helps to keep skin looking young and water retention in the cells does the same.
For women who want the works, like going from an A cup to a C cup, this method is not advisable.
'But a significant number of patients walk in wanting firmer breasts but they don't want surgery, scars or downtime.
'Some of them also don't want their husbands to know,' said Dr Wu.
For these women, full breast augmentation surgery, which requires general anaesthesia and a couple of days' recovery time, is out of the question.
'But coming in a few times over one or two weeks to get their breasts injected with the material is fine as no one will know they are doing it,' said Dr Wu.
The Firma programme also tailors each augmentation to the patient's requirements.
That means that the patient pays only for the amount of the injection material she uses.
'It goes by the cc, so we charge by the cc. You can actually inject the breast, then the patient can look at it, feel it, then say okay, she wants more or okay, it's enough,' said Dr Wu.
'It's like putting petrol in the tank, you pay for what you consume.'
He has been offering it to his patients since September last year.
The technique originated in Japan and Korea.
'There has been a swing to non-surgical techniques because they are so much more convenient. But you still need a qualified surgeon to do the injections in order to get the best results,' said Dr Wu. So far, he has treated 18 patients using this method.
Said Ms Gladys Yeo, 31, who has been wanting fuller breasts for some time: 'This is very exciting for me because finally there's an option that does not require surgery.'
Her breasts started to droop just a little after her first baby.
'I feel that my breasts are not as perky as before, but I don't think I need major surgery just yet. I just want them to be firmer and fuller,' said the accounts manager.
The only thing in her way is the cost.
The Firma programme is not cheap, costing from $6,000 for moderate firming to $18,000.
'I'll have to save up! But it is comforting to know that there's this option. Otherwise, I will be quite depressed with saggy breasts,' said Ms Yeo who added that her husband would never say yes to breast augmentation surgery.
'Now maybe he'll agree because it involves no general anaesthesia or cutting.'