I had the pleasure of attending a bioskills cadaver lab training course this weekend in between my son’s two fall baseball games. I am very pleased to have been able to fit this training course into my busy “family time” schedule! The company, called Galatea Surgical, has introduced a new transitory scaffold for breast surgery called Galaflex. Galaflex is a macroporous monofilament material made from P4HB, a unique naturally occurring absorbable material in the human body. Galaflex is a material that we implant into the body during breast lift, revision breast augmentation, and breast reduction in those “high risk” patients in which we feel that lifting the skin and relying on it to solely support the breast will fail long term. Those of you who know me, know that I am all about long term results for my patients. In other words, I like to go the “extra mile” for my patients, so that they will be “one-and-done”. I prefer to take more time in the operating room to do the operation right the first time, in order to avoid revision operations.
Do I dare say that we have found the “holy grail” for breast surgery so that we can achieve long-lasting, “one-and-done’ results? Well, I believe that Galaflex will be a great device in our armamentarium to help us do just that. I am impressed by the long term results that my surgeon colleagues have achieved with this material. These surgeons have been involved in the early study protocols here in the United States. Historical plastic surgery literature shows that women undergoing breast reduction and breast lift, whether for the first time or for revision surgery, see a 20% change in certain breast dimensions , including volume loss and recurrent breast ptosis (droop) by 1 year! This has been shown by measuring Nipple to Infra-Mammary Fold (N-IMF) distance at one year. Early Galaflex clinical results in patients undergoing breast lift demonstrate an average of only 10% change in breast measurements including Nipple-Inframammary Fold (N-IMF) distance at one year.
I had the opportunity to try Galaflex this weekend. Although I have used similar products before, including many of the implantable biologics and scaffolds for the breast on the market today, I must say that I love Galaflex. I am encouraged and excited by its ease of use, extremely low infection rate and low complication rate overall, and by its very rapid in-growth and incorporation into the body’s tissues. Studies demonstrate that, at 6 weeks, blood vessels have already grown into the Galaflex and the tissue that surrounds it. By 6 months, tissue thickness has increased by more than 3 millimeters, which is significant. Most importantly, this is not scar tissue, but rather healthy collagen that is pliable and provides strength to support the elevated breast profile.
In summary, I truly believe that the days of patients having recurrent ptosis (droop) at one year significant enough to warrant re-operation may be over! I am really excited to now be able to tell a patient who has breast ptosis that a long-lasting post-operative breast lift or breast reduction result is very achievable by incorporating Galaflex into her operation. I truly believe in this product and I’m excited to be able to offer it to my patients!
I hope everyone’s transition back to school has been smooth and that everyone had a great summer. Next on my calendar in between surgeries will be a visit from my Uncle who lives in Budapest, Hungary. I am looking forward to taking him to New Orleans in early October to show him the city that holds my alma mater, Tulane Medical School. Later in October, I will be attending the 2015 American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) meeting in Boston where I am looking forward to reuniting with plastic surgeons from around the world including old friends. Meetings such as these give me the opportunity to continue learning and bring home more cutting-edge new techniques for my patients.