New breast augmentation patients are frequently unaware that they have options when it comes to breast implant placement. Of course, Dr. Sieber will go over the various types of breast implant placement with you at your breast augmentation consultation. But knowing about placement beforehand can give you a head start.
Breast Implant Placement Options
There are essentially two placement options when it comes to where your implants are positioned on your chest. It comes down to the choice between submuscular implants and subglandular implants.
Both of these options can work for some people, depending on their goals and anatomy (specifically, how much existing breast tissue they have). But some individuals will be best suited for just one option.
As you’ll note, the two different types of implant placement are referenced by their relation to the muscles in the chest. Everyone has a different amount of chest muscle, and everyone’s chest muscles are differently shaped as well. Therefore, it’s important for your surgeon to be able to closely examine your chest muscles to determine the best placement for you. They also need to see how much breast tissue you have.
Most patients don’t understand the nuances of implant placement on their own — simply because they’re not medical professionals themselves, let alone board certified plastic surgeons with years of experience. For this reason, it is of the utmost importance that patients work closely with a board certified plastic surgeon who can help them decide which placement option will provide the best outcome.
Subglandular vs Submuscular Breast Augmentation
What Is Subglandular Breast Implant Placement?
Some may call this option “over-the-muscle” implant placement because, as the term indicates, the implants are being placed over or on top of the chest muscles.
However, the implants are not being placed on top of the muscles and on top of the glandular tissue (mammary ducts). Instead, the implants will go beneath the glandular tissue and over the muscles — basically creating a sandwich with the implant in the middle.
What Is Submuscular Breast Implant Placement?
Also known as subpectoral breast implants, these implants are placed beneath the pectoralis major muscle, and thus, beneath the glandular tissue as well. Submuscular implant placement means your implants will be further back from your breast skin and more hidden.
Pros and Cons: What Breast Implant Placement Is Best for You?
When considering breast implants and placement, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons of each option to determine which is best suited to your individual needs and goals.
Submuscular placement (implants under the muscle and behind the breast glandular tissue) offer several advantages. One of the key benefits is the potential for a more natural-looking breast shape. Notably, the muscle provides additional coverage, reducing the risk of visible implant rippling, which can be a concern with thinner skin and breast tissue. (As a side note, if you do end up with rippling, a fat transfer breast augmentation can often help create a smoother shape and more natural appearance).
Additionally, submuscular placement makes mammograms and breast examinations more manageable to perform and interpret, potentially simplifying breast health monitoring. Another advantage is the lower risk of capsular contracture, a condition where scar tissue around the implant tightens.
At the same time, submuscular placement comes with some drawbacks too. For instance, it may entail a longer and more uncomfortable breast augmentation recovery period compared to subglandular placement. Some individuals may find that it slightly limits upper body strength and performance in certain athletic activities as well.
On the other side of things, subglandular placement, where the implant is positioned over the chest muscle, offers its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
This placement generally leads to a quicker and less uncomfortable recovery period. It also tends to have less impact on upper body strength and athletic activities, which can be important considerations for physically active patients.
On the downside, subglandular placement may come with a higher risk of visible rippling or wrinkling due to having less breast tissue coverage. Implants may appear more prominent, especially in women with minimal natural breast tissue and thin skin. Mammograms and breast examinations may also be more challenging to interpret with implants in front of the muscle. Finally, there is a slightly elevated risk of capsular contracture when compared to submuscular placement.
Ultimately, you need to speak with your breast augmentation surgeon to determine which option is right for you.
FAQs: Breast Implant Placement
What is the safest placement for the breast implant?
This really depends on the situation and the patient. Some research shows that subglandular placement of silicone implants or saline implants is safer because it may lead to less penetration of the muscles deeper in the chest (and thus, fewer related complications). On the other hand, you may also find some research indicating that submuscular placement leads to fewer capsular contracture issues.
Do implants over the muscle look bigger?
No, not necessarily. Implant placement has less to do with breast size than it does with the smoothness of the breast appearance (whether there could be rippling, capsular contracture, or other aesthetic complications).
Book a Consultation Appointment Today
Every patient is unique. Each one has a unique medical history, a unique anatomy, and unique aesthetic goals. For this reason, there shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all approach to breast implant placement, just as there shouldn’t be a blanket approach to breast implant size or breast implant shapes.
Whether it’s subglandular vs submuscular, silicone vs saline, teardrop vs round breast implants, or any other combination of factors, it’s important that you find exactly what it is you’re looking for with the help of a qualified surgeon.
To learn more about breast augmentation surgery and breast implant placement and to find the option that works best for you, call today and schedule your in-person consultation appointment with double board certified plastic surgeon Dr. David Sieber.