What is the Difference Between Breast Implant Incisions?
December 04, 2015
As you might have noticed if you’ve read any of my other blog posts on the topic, breast augmentation is never a one-size-fits-all procedure. At The Plastic Surgery Clinic, our goal is to achieve the best looking and safest results possible for each of our patients. This means we totally customize every operation to each individual patient. So when I have a patient come in for a free consultation to talk about breast augmentation, we always have a lot to discuss. One particularly significant topic of conversation is incision placement. It’s a really important question: what are your options for breast implant incisions?
There are four main areas of the body where your breast implant incisions can be placed. The small incisions, which are usually only about an inch in size, can be placed around the lower edge of the areola (the periareolar incision), under the crease of the breast (the inframammary incision), hidden in the armpit (the transaxillary incision), or even hidden in the belly button (the transumbilical incision).
Periareolar Incision – This type of incision is made at lower edge of the pinkish or brownish skin surrounding your nipple. Although this placement might be the most visible or “out in the open” of all of your options, the scar can often be easily camouflaged since it’s located at the border of your naturally pigmented areola. Because saline breast implants are inserted into the body empty and filled with saline once they’ve been properly placed, there’s usually no reason why they can’t be inserted using this technique. However, silicone or cohesive gel breast implants are inserted already filled and so they tend to require a slightly larger incision. If you have chosen a cohesive gel implant the size of your areola might affect whether or not you feel this incision is right for you.
Inframammary Incision – If you think about where the underwire sits when you wear a bra, this is where an inframammary incision is typically placed. It’s positioned at or slightly above where the bottommost part of your breast meets your ribcage. An incision at the crease of the breast usually works best for women who have more breast tissue to begin with—a smaller breast with tighter tissue and without a deeper fold will not hide the scar well.
Transaxillary Incision – Placing the incision in the armpit can be ideal if you don’t want any scars on your breasts themselves. Some people refer to this as “scarless breast augmentation” but, in reality, you will still have a small scar that resembles a wrinkle in your underarm skin. Some surgeons prefer not to insert a cohesive gel silicone implant through this type of incision, but at The Plastic Surgery Clinic we have the expertise and the tools to do so safely and effectively. We use the Keller Funnel™ implant device in order to insert silicone implants through very small incisions, including in the armpit. If you have smaller nipples or less breast tissue to begin with, this incision could be a good option for you.
Transumbilical Incision – There is one strict limitation with an incision hidden in the navel, and that’s that it can only be used with a saline implant. This type of incision offers a bit less precision than the others and so it requires a highly skilled and experienced surgeon. In the very rare case that a secondary surgery is necessary to address a complication, one of the more traditional incision sites is usually required. The biggest advantage is that the scar is very well-hidden.
No matter where your breast implant incisions are placed, we will do everything possible to ensure that you’re left with the smallest scar possible. In the weeks immediately following your operation, you might not like the appearance of your breast implant incisions. This is a totally normal phenomenon, and as your body heals, your scars will continue to flatten out and fade in colour. Many patients report that after a period of six months, their scars are practically unnoticeable. When we discuss your goals and the result you want to achieve with breast augmentation, we’ll talk at length about the benefits and drawbacks of each type of incision for your unique procedure. When all is said and done, you always have the final say on where your incisions will be placed.