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Types of Breast Implant Incisions

Breast augmentation procedures are among the most popular plastic surgery operations performed in the U.S. Each year hundreds of thousands of women seek to enhance their breasts with the placement of implants and the number continues to grow each year.

When it comes to breast augmentation procedures, women are always concerned about the location of the incisions, and resulting scars. The approach taken to place the breast implant can make a difference in regards to the lasting effects of the operation. There are several approaches to breast implant surgeries, and each comes with their own benefits and potential drawbacks.

For some women, the transaxillary approach to breast augmentation may be the best option. The transaxillary approach is to make the incision for the implant on the side of the breast so that it is hidden under the arm or in the arm pit. This makes the scar much less noticeable and only apparent to those who know where to look.

While this is an excellent approach to breast implants for those concerned with scarring, it does limit the size and type of implant that is able to be used. Saline implants work best with the transaxillary approach as they can be filled after insertion. Pre-filled silicone implants are often difficult to insert through this method.

The most common approach is the inframammary incision. This places the incision underneath the fold of the breast tissue hiding the scar in the breast’s natural crease. The first major benefit from the inframammary incision is that it allows the breast implant to be held in any of the three preferred locations, complete sub-musculuar, subglandular (behind the breast but in front of the muscles), or partial sub-muscular (behind the breast and partially behind the muscle). Another advantage is the surgeon is working near the breast and can more easily dissect the pocket for the implant. There is minimal scarring in the breast tissue and therefore, little change to mammography.

The third type of incision is the periareolar incision. This is an incision between the pink or brown area around the nipple and the breast skin itself. Any breast implant type can be used. In regards to scarring, the periareolar incision really depends on the individual. The area of the incision can easily hide a scar since scar tissue is often the same color as an areola, but in some women this is simply not true and the scar can end up more visible on the breast.

Having discussions with your plastic surgeon prior to your breast augmentation will best help a patient figures the best course of action to meet her goals. There are many factors to consider that are unique to each patient and their body aesthetic goals and only through a consultation can the best course of action be determined. Being informed will better help guide a patient on their quest for the body they’ve always dreamed of having.