Breast Implant Placement: Above or Below the Muscle?
When undergoing breast augmentation at our Victoria, TX, practice, it is important to consider breast implant placement. Breast implants can be positioned either above or below the breast muscle. Each placement option provides its own benefits in terms of the shape and feel of the breasts, as well as physical mobility. At South Texas Plastic Surgery, Dr. Brian F. Burns can review the pros and cons of each option.
Breast Muscle and Your Treatment Options
When it comes to breast augmentation, the chest muscle serves two main purposes: the shape of the upper breast portion and soft tissue coverage. These are the primary factors to consider when exploring your treatment options. Aesthetically speaking, the upper portion of a natural breast typically has a slight slope. To achieve this appearance with breast augmentation, the implant should be placed underneath the muscle, as the pressure from additional tissue will promote a natural look.
During a complimentary consultation with Dr. Burns, he can help you determine which option will most effectively meet your needs.
Furthermore, women who are lacking natural breast tissue will need sufficient tissue coverage to achieve a natural outcome. Therefore, in these cases, implants are almost always placed under the muscle. It is important to note that silicone implants are less stiff than their saline counterparts. As a result, they do not require as much pressure to achieve a sloped appearance. For this reason, silicone implants can be placed above the muscle, while saline implants are virtually always positioned below the muscle.
Subglandular Breast Implants: Pros and Cons
Subglandular implants are positioned below the breast tissue and above the chest muscle. This particular placement can reduce the appearance of sagging and eliminate the need for a breast lift. In addition, subglandular implants move downward along with the breast tissue during the aging process, offering a natural look. When subglandular placement is chosen, recovery is generally quicker and more comfortable compared to submuscular placement.
Despite numerous benefits, there are also some disadvantages. Women with very little natural breast tissue may develop visible folds, ripples, or wrinkles. In addition, subglandular implants may negatively affect the accuracy of mammograms, as they can obstruct visualization. Finally, implants placed above the muscle have a higher risk for capsular contracture, a condition in which excessive scar tissue forms, distorting the appearance of the breasts.
Submuscular Breast Implants: Pros and Cons
In contrast, submuscular implants are placed below the pectoral muscle. This positioning allows for more accurate visualization and diagnosis during mammograms. In addition, submuscular breast implants deliver a more natural looking appearance and reduce the risk of capsular contracture.
However, since the chest muscles are placing constant force on these implants, they can become distorted or displaced over time. This is particularly true if the chest muscles are frequently flexed. For this reason, we do not recommend submuscular implants for women who practice bodybuilding. Since submuscular placement is slightly more invasive than subglandular placement, recovery can involve more discomfort and tenderness. However, these side effects are normal, and can be successfully managed with pain medication.
Which Type of Placement Is Right for Me?
The type of breast implant placement recommended for you will depend on several factors, including your personal preferences, your body type, and the amount of natural tissue available. During a complimentary consultation with Dr. Burns, he can help you determine which placement method and implant shape will most effectively meet your needs.
Schedule Your Consultation Today
If you are considering breast augmentation, it is important to consider which type of implant placement you will pursue. To explore your treatment options, contact us online or call our office at (361) 576-1975.