Breast implants can be placed through a few different types of incision:
- Inframmary: this hides the scar in the crease under the breast, and is my preferred incision for a couple reasons. First, it allows excellent access to dissect out the pocket where the breast implant will be place. Second, breast implants do not last forever. And when they are removed, this is frequently done through an inframmary incision. If you’re likely to have a scar in this area at some point in the future, why not limit the overall number of scars and do the initial operation through this inicision as well?
- Periareolar: this hides the incision in the transition between the areola and the lighter surrounding skin. The incision is smaller than an inframammary, so it can be difficult to get a larger silicone implant in through this style of incision. Cutting through the breast tissue itself may also expose the implant to bacteria from the milk ducts, which theoretically could raise the risk of infection, although this has not been proven. I tend to reserve a periareolar incision for when I plan to do a mastopexy along with the augmentation.
- Axillary: this incision is hidden in the axilla, or armpit. A camera is used to visualize the implant pocket during surgery. It can be difficult to place implants in precisely the correct position when the incision is so far away. And I personally don’t like this incision because it is visible when wearing a sleeveless blouse or tank top.
- Umbilical: known as a TUBA, or transumbilical breast augmentation, this hides the scar in the upper curve of the belly button, or umbilicus. This isn’t a very popular type of incision, for the simple reason that the breasts are a long way from the belly button. It is difficult to place implants precisely where you want them over such a long distance. In addition, this incision limits your implant type to saline. Saline implants are placed in the breast empty, and then filled, whereas silicone implants are filled by the manufacturer. And it’s simply impossible to squeeze a full silicone implant through such a small incision.
And that’s it- those are the four types of incisions currently used to place breast implants. Have you had a breast augmentation? If so, where is your incision?