Breast implant incisions are the openings plastic surgeons make for the insertion of saline or silicone implants during breast augmentation surgery. However, one thing that not a lot of people know is that there are different types of breast implant incisions.
As you approach your breast augmentation procedure, deciding on the best incision location for you will be something you’ll need to discuss with your plastic surgeon. Naturally, some of the decision will lie with you and your personal preferences and aesthetic goals. But plastic surgeons also have the skill and experience required to judge what the best incision placement will be for your anatomy and the types of breast implants you choose.
What Is the Best Breast Implant Incision Location?
Every plastic surgeon is different, every patient is different, and every breast enhancement surgery is different. Therefore, we cannot recommend “the best” breast augmentation incisions for everyone.
Instead, we can go over the four incision locations available so that you can get a strong understanding of the options available to you.
Option #1 – Inframammary Incision
The inframammary incision, often referred to as the breast fold incision, is a popular choice among patients and surgeons. Positioned discreetly beneath the breast along the breast crease (inframammary fold), inframammary incisions provide surgeons with precise access for implant placement.
Let’s look at the pros and cons.
Inframammary Incision Pros
- Good access and visibility for accurate implant placement.
- Concealment beneath the breast, bras, and swimwear for minimal visibility.
- Possibility of reopening the incision for future procedures without additional scarring.
- Enhanced surgical precision due to proximity to the operating area.
- No added risk of nipple nerve damage or interference with milk ducts for breastfeeding.
Inframammary Incision Cons
- Scar migration potential, leading to stretching.
- Challenging incision placement for those with no natural breast crease.
- May limit flexibility for future breast size changes.
Option #2 – Periareolar Incision
The periareolar incision, made between the areola and surrounding skin (along the outer edge of the areola), offers a scar that can be skillfully hidden. Still, like any option, it comes with its own set of disadvantages as well.
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons.
Perioareolar Incision Pros
- Close to implant location for precise insertion.
- Scar healing often surpasses other incision types.
- Potential for reopening the incision for future breast procedures.
- Possibility of nearly invisible scarring if meticulously placed along the edge of the areola.
Perioareolar Incision Cons
- Potential for altered nipple sensation, though rare.
- Slight risk of hindering breastfeeding, though rare.
- May be increased risk of capsular contracture.
- Possibility of noticeable or raised scarring, though rare.
Option #3 – Transaxillary Incision
The transaxillary incision, also known as the under the armpit incision, is a modern approach. It leaves the breasts untouched, which many patients desire. But, of course, it comes with its own drawbacks as well.
Here are the pros and cons.
Transaxillary Incision Pros
- Minimal interference with mammary glands, making it ideal for future mothers.
- No visible scarring on the breasts, enabling various clothing choices.
Transaxillary Incision Cons
- Though typically hard-to-see, there is potential for noticeable scars in the armpit area.
- Challenges with implant placement in the optimal “dual plane location.”
- Reduced control over implant position.
Option #4 – Trans-Umbilical Incisions
The trans-umbilical breast augmentation (TUBA) incision is a unique technique that is rarely used. In fact, it can only be used with a saline implant.
During a TUBA procedure, a surgeon creates an incision in the belly button for the insertion of the implant. The breast implant must then be guided up the abdomen for placement. This option presents specific advantages and drawbacks.
Let’s examine the pros and cons of the TUBA incision location.
Trans-Umbilical Incision Pros
- Minimal interference with breasts and nipple sensation.
- Nearly undetectable scarring within the naval folds.
- May have shorter recovery time compared to other incision types.
Trans-Umbilical Incision Cons
- Inability to reopen the scar for future revisions.
- Higher risk of implant distortion because of limited ability to be precise in placement.
- Only an option for saline implants.
- Incompatibility with combined procedures like a breast lift.
- Requires unique skill and training, which many plastic surgeons don’t have.
FAQ: Breast Implant Incisions and Healing
What is the most common incision for breast implants?
The most common incision for breast implants is the inframammary incision, which is discreetly located beneath the breast along the inframammary fold. It leaves the surrounding breast skin scarless, and the crease and breast conceal the scars.
How big is the incision for breast augmentation?
The size of the incision for breast augmentation varies but can range from one to four inches depending on the size, material, and shape of the implant and which implant insertion location is chosen.
Can you put Neosporin on breast implant incisions?
It’s generally not recommended to use Neosporin or similar ointments on breast implant incisions without consulting your surgeon. They will provide specific aftercare instructions to promote proper healing.
How long do breast implant incisions take to heal
Breast implant incisions typically take several weeks to heal externally. However, if you want to know how long for breast implant incisions to heal internally, the complete healing process (including breast tissue scar maturation) can take several months.
What is a lollipop incision for breast implants?
A lollipop incision is a surgical technique used in breast augmentation where the breast implant incision is made around the areola and extends vertically down from the areola to the breast crease. The resulting pattern resembles a lollipop shape.
This is often an incision pattern required for breast lift surgery. Therefore, if a patient desires breast enhancement surgery that includes both a breast lift and breast implants, this approach is frequently used.
Call to Set Up a Consultation With Dr. Sieber
With each breast augmentation surgery, many decisions must be made. What types of breast implants are right for you? Silicone vs saline implants? Round or teardrop implants? Low or high profile? What breast implant size?
Breast augmentation incision location is just one more decision you’ll need to make — but it’s a crucial one. In order to make the best choice for you and avoid revision surgery, it’s important to work with an experienced plastic surgeon who is also board certified.
Dr. Sieber is a board certified plastic surgeon with extensive experience performing breast augmentation surgery for patients in San Francisco and the surrounding areas. Call today to schedule your personal appointment with Dr. Sieber.