25 Apr Incision Placement for Breast Implants
A lot of patients start thinking about size, shape, and material (silicone vs. saline) when considering breast implants, but placement—for both incisions and the breast implants—is just as important. John Park MD Plastic Surgery collaborates with each patient to discuss options for incision placement, since the incisions will dictate where scarring will occur. The scars from breast implant incisions are very thin and usually fade to your skin color, making them nearly impossible to see. Still, knowing where these incisions will be is an important step in the process.
There are four primary locations where breast implant incisions are typically placed. Not every option is available for every patient because everyone is unique. We will talk about your options for incisions during your complimentary consultation. One of the most common incision placements is the periareolar incisions (also known as the breast augmentation nipple incision). These incisions are made around the lower half of the areola, an excellent location for concealing the healed scar since the areola is naturally darker and a different texture than the rest of your skin.
The periareolar incision is favored by those who want to hide scarring as best as possible, and it also helps with the accuracy of breast implant placement. However, if you are a woman with a relatively small areola and you want silicone breast implants, this placement might not be possible. Silicone breast implants are pre-filled, whereas saline implants are empty when inserted and then filled once they are in place. As such, silicone breast implants will usually require a larger incision than saline implants. Breastfeeding is also a consideration. The vast majority of women can breastfeed after getting breast implants, but the incision plays a role in this. There are incision points that are better for ensuring smooth sailing if you plan to breastfeed in the future, like the inframammary incision.
The Invisible Breast Implant Incision
An inframammary incision is also very common. It allows for a longer incision (great for silicone breast implants) and requires two horizontal incisions hidden in the natural crease of the breasts. This site allows for quick access to the exact tissue that needs to be manipulated to make a “pocket” for the implant. Inframammary incisions offer a precise foundation for surgery and any size implant can be placed when this incision is used. It’s also a preferred incision for those who might breastfeed in the future since it does not modify the areola at all.
Of course, the inframammary incision is not really invisible, but it will require close inspection in order to see it. Most women feel confident and comfortable with this incision choice since it won’t be visible in a swimsuit.
Other Incision Options
A transaxillary incision is tucked into the armpit. With this location, a tunnel is created that makes it possible to place the implant. This is done with a special camera (endoscope) to ensure proper placement. Most transaxillary incisions are used in conjunction with saline implants, because these incisions tend to be small. However, in some cases, smaller silicone breast implants may be placed via a transaxillary incision.
Direct visualization during surgery is not available with this incision since the only thing seen is what the camera lens can see. In some cases, the recovery period may be longer as well since the armpit is a bit further from the breast than other incision placement options. If you think you might change your breast implants in the future (as many women do) to a different size, shape, or material, that surgery may require a different incision. In previously mentioned incision sites, it’s very likely your surgeon can use the same incision sites for future changes.
Breast Implants Customized for You
Finally, there’s the transumbilical or TUBA incision. It’s the least common incision and it’s made in the bellybutton for a completely hidden incision scar. Like the armpit incision, tunneling is required. Due to the distance between the belly button and the chest as well as the inability for surgeons to have direct visualization during the procedure, TUBA incisions are rarely performed but may be recommended in some situations.
Placement of the incision is just one factor—there’s also the choice between putting breast implants above or below the chest muscles. As you can see, there are many means of customizing your breast implants. To learn more, schedule your complimentary consultation with John Park MD Plastic Surgery today by calling the office or filling out the online form.