Understanding Your Breast Implant Placement Options
Breast implants can be placed either below or above the breast muscle, both of which have their own advantages in terms of esthetics, the recovery process, and mammogram efficacy. Because every woman's body and circumstances are different, the most beneficial technique will depend on the individual. During your breast augmentation consultation at our New Orleans, LA, practice, Dr. Benjamin Boudreaux and Dr. Jeffrey Claiborne will discuss which breast implant placement option is best for your cosmetic and physical goals.
Why is the Muscle Important When Considering Breast Implants?
In terms of implant placement, the chest muscle serves two primary purposes. First, it provides additional soft tissue coverage. Secondly, it aids in shaping the upper portion of the breasts.
Women with very little natural breast tissue will require adequate soft tissue coverage over the implant to make their results look as natural as possible. If the implants are placed over the muscle in this situation, patients may not be satisfied with the results.
As the aging process continues, your implants descend along with the breast tissue, so they will always look natural.
A natural breast has a slight slope on the upper portion and is usually not overly round in appearance. If an implant is placed under the muscle, the added tissue will place pressure on the implant, which will encourage a naturally sloped look. Saline implants are stiffer than silicone implants and typically require more pressure to achieve this sloped appearance. Therefore, saline implants are almost always placed under the muscle whereas silicone implants can remain above the muscle.
Pros and Cons of Subglandular Implant Placement
Subglandular breast implants are placed above the pectoral muscle and below the breast tissue. When in this position, implants do not flatten out or move when the chest muscles are flexed. Additionally, subglandular implants can even minimize sagging so that a breast lift is not necessary. As the aging process continues, these implants descend along with the breast tissue, so they will always look natural. Overall, recovery is typically faster and more comfortable when implants are placed under the breast tissue.
However, there are some disadvantages, as well. Patients who lack sufficient natural breast tissue may notice visible wrinkling or folds over time. Additionally, there is a higher risk for developing capsular contracture. This condition can occur when internal scar tissue forms a capsule around the breast implant, leaving it hard to the touch. Subglandular implants can also obstruct more natural tissue, making it more difficult to visualize it on a mammogram and interfering with evaluation of breast health.
Pros and Cons of Submuscular Implant Placement
Submuscular implants are placed beneath the chest muscle. The primary reason for submuscular placement is the reduced risk of capsular contracture. They also offer a more natural appearance, especially for women who have very little natural breast tissue. Submuscular implants also allow more accurate visualization during a mammogram.
Over time, however, submuscular implants may be displaced or distorted by constant force from the muscles. Additionally, submuscular implants can become distorted when the chest muscles flex. For this reason, this option is not usually recommended to women who lift weights or practice bodybuilding. Typically, there is slightly more discomfort during recovery after receiving submuscular implants, although this is temporary and easily managed with medication.