Spiral Flap Vs. Breast Implants?

More magazine has an story: "New help for 'pancake' breasts, which states women with deflated breasts after pregnancy or weight losss can get an operation that is an alternative to breast implants. It's called "spiral flap" breast lift. Says it costs $30,000. Can you tell me more about the spiral flap surgery, is it more natural appearing than an implant?

Doctor Answers 10

Implants are much cheaper

The spiral flap procedure has not yet stood the test of time. We really don't know what will happen to the tissue over years, as the procedure is relatively new. Hang on for follow up on the procedure results, or go with the already tried and true breast implant.

Remember though that breast implants fail at a rate of 1-2% per year over your lifetime. So, there is a possibility that you may have to have a replacement at some time in the future. Good luck!

Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

Not every procedure is indicated for every patient.

Ms. Carolyn,

The spiral flap uses your own excess tissue to help bolster your own breast tissue. This may work for patients with massive weight loss who have excess tissue and skin. Breast implants are good if you have minimal to moderate amount of breast tissue and need to add more volume. The indications really for two different kinds of people. It is best to keep in mind that not every operation is indicated for every patient. If you post pictures of yourself, we may be able to give you more specific advice. Good luck.

David Shafer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 77 reviews


I guess I have been charging WAY too little for the procedure!

The other thing to know is that there is a limit as to how big the breast can be made, and this depends on the actual breast tissue present. Frequently with pendulous breasts, there is a lot less than there appears. Also, the breast implant will give upward support, which is generally weakende in persons who have lost massive weight loss.

Scott E. Kasden, MD, FACS
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 106 reviews

For MOST women, implants are best.

The surgery you are describing leaves long prominent scars, and can only be done on women who have had gastric banding for morbid obesity.

Implants, when well done, look and feel natural!

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Tear-drop Mastopexy

If you have a certain degree of sagging (nipple or below the inframammary fold) and desire some extra volume, you should get a lift with a small implant. A breast enlargement to reduce sag is a problem in my eyes. Many woman complain that they are too big and that they are still saggy when it is all over. If you are satisfied with your breast volume when in a bra, you can consider a breast lift. My favorite is a Goes technique, which lifts the breast from above, thus it is more durable.

Robert M. Freund, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Spiral breast flap

The Spiral breast flap is a method of taking your own (autogenous) excess tissue and wrapping it in a spiral to form a cone which is then tucked (augmentation) within a sagging (mastopexy) breast to restore fullness and a yourhful appearance.

This has many implications:

  1. You must have enough excess tissue to use otherwise insuffiencient fullness is the result.
  2. There is a donor site scar which we attempt to hide in the crease scar but it is generally larger than a typical augmentation scar
  3. Tissue rarely "stands up" and over time this will have a tendency to sag and make the lower half of the breast full while leaving the upper portion more tear drop. While this tends to be natural looking, it does not achieve the upper fullness that most women desire when undergoing augmentation or a mastopexy procedure.

I hope this helps!

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 82 reviews

Spiral flap usually for weight loss patients

These flaps utilize adjacent excess tissue that might otherwise be removed and transfer them to the breast where implants would otherwise be placed. I agree with what has been said in that most patients who are candidates for this have lost a lot of weight. For most women, implants are the answer for breast augmentation. Good Luck!

Leonard Lu, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

This is really only an option for the massive weight loss patient

This operation was developed for the massive weight loss patient who needs breast lifting.  The flap adds volume by using the excess tissue locally.  Patients who are not in this catagory need a breast implant to provide size augmentation.

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

Spiral flap vs. implants

The spiral flap is a nice catchy name to describe taking the lateral breast fold tissue and turning it up towards the breast to incorporate into a breast lift and augmentation. It is mostly used for massive weight loss patients and can be susceptible to loose of the flap when rotated. For most standard flat breasts after deflation, a lift and implant are best.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Does not replace breast implants but is used in patients following massive weight loss

The "spiral flaps" is a technique that uses the excess body tissues to augment a sagging breast. It is important to put this technique in the right perspective. This technique is designed for patients who lost large amounts of weight (e.g 100 pounds etc..) and they should have enough saggy breast tissue to use for breast augmentation.This a technique does not replace breast implants.Hope that helps!

Hisham Seify, MD, PhD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.