Want to test-drive a bigger cup size—for a day? Now you can. Breast augmentations continue to be the most popular cosmetic surgical procedure (in fact, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports that close to 300,000 women in the United States had a boob job in 2013). That’s why Norman Rowe, M.D., a board-certified plastic surgeon in New York City, created InstaBreast, which allows women to try out their new goods before deciding whether or not to get implants.
“It’s not a getting-your-hair-blown-out-kind of thing,” says Rowe. “I really designed this as a method to find out if breast implants are for you, what size you want, and what it’s going to feel like. I didn’t envision it as, ‘Hey, I have a party tonight and I really want to fill out that dress’ or ‘I want to stick it to my old boyfriend.'”
We got the scoop on the procedure—from what’s used to make your boobs bigger to how risky it might be.
InstaBreast is a minimally invasive procedure that takes around 15 to 20 minutes, during which a saline solution is injected directly into the breasts to immediately create bigger boobs that last for up to 24 hours. The solution is eventually absorbed—and wait for it… excreted from your body when you pee. The area is numbed before the injection, and Rowe says that while there shouldn’t be any pain, some patients have experienced a little bruising (similar to when you’ve gotten a shot or had blood drawn), which goes away in about a day or so.
You’ll be spending anywhere between $2,500 to 3,500 to sport a bodacious body for the day. A breast augmentation, meanwhile, typically costs upwards of $10,000, says Rowe.
Prior to InstaBreast, computer imaging and wearing implants in your bra were the only ways you could test-drive bigger breasts before going under the knife. Rowe says that InstaBreast is the most precise way for women to see what their boobs look (and feel) like at a bigger size (granted, he is the one pushing the product).
“[Compared to] taking implants off the shelf and putting them in the patient’s bra or taking photos and putting them on the computer to give them an idea, [InstaBreast] is a much more accurate way of giving them an idea of what the implants are going to feel like,” says Rowe. He adds that it takes the guesswork out of getting implants and prevents the buyer’s remorse that some women experience after augmentation.
“We don’t really know if it’s safe or not in terms of, if you’re injecting things into the breast, could there be any long-term effects on a mammogram or something like that,” says Tracy Pfeifer, M.D., a board-certified plastic surgeon in New York City. “It’s probably okay to do it from a safety standpoint, [but] I don’t like to take any chances with the breasts.” Rowe, meanwhile, says there aren’t any short- or long-term side effects to the procedure.
While Rowe says that InstaBreast is the most accurate way for women to find out how implants look and feel, not all plastic surgeons are on-board with it. The way your breasts look and feel pumped up with liquid is different than how they’d look and feel if you got implants, says Pfeifer. “The problem with that is when you’re injecting fluid into the breast, it’s very amorphous—whereas an implant has a shape.”
Also worth noting: Macrolane, a compound used specifically as a breast injectable, was banned in the U.K. in 2012 because it was thought to cause lumps that made it hard to read mammograms. Rowe says the types of fillers he uses don’t pose this risk.
Pfeifer also has concerns that InstaBreast downplays how serious surgery is, whether it’s an invasive procedure or not. “I just don’t see the point of it,” she says. “All surgery has a risk benefit. There are always risks. So the benefit to have any risks at all needs to be very high. What is the benefit? Your breasts are a little bigger for a couple hours?”
Rowe is currently working on an extended version of InstaBreast, which he says has been dubbed “vacation breasts” by the media. This procedure would allow patients to test-run a bigger breast size for a longer period of time—weeks instead of a day—before they decide whether or not to get implants.