Baker says that's minimal compared with what a saline implant can do. He adds that the study sample was far too small to draw a meaningful conclusion about the device, but that women will likely find it difficult to wear. "It's hard to wear under clothing without seeing it. It's a big, cumbersome device." And, he points out, it must be worn 10 to 12 hours a day for 10 weeks.
Another possible drawback: expense. Baker, who was contacted about investing in the device, estimates it will run about $2,000. And at this point, no one is sure whether the results are permanent.
A source close to Biometrics LLC, the company that would market the breast-building device, speaking to WebMD on condition of anonymity, emphasized that the device is still in the experimental phase. And though it appears to work, it is not -- and never was -- intended for women seeking a dramatic change in breast size, he says. In fact, when compared with a saline implant, he says, results are rather modest. It takes about 175 cc to 200 cc of saline in an implant to get an increase of one cup size. The device adds volume equivalent to about half that.
Still, there is optimism that some women might find the device an attractive alternative to surgery -- those looking for just a bit more fullness, for example. Biometrics says the product should be available through doctors by the end of this year, and the company is already encouraging women to get onto a "preferred customer list" to get it.
As for the science behind the device, more answers could be coming this fall, when Khouri and colleagues wrap up a larger study. About 300 women are participating.
- A researcher has developed a nonsurgical breast augmentation device that he says can increase breast size by an average of 55%.
- The device must be worn 10 to 12 hours per day for 10 weeks. It works by putting sustained pressure on the breasts, causing the tissue to grow.
- Experts say that while the device may increase breast size, the increase is moderate and does not compare to that available with breast augmentation surgery.