Implants Placed through the Armpit

Many Elite Plastic Surgery patients considering breast augmentation assume implants can only be placed through an incision made around the areola or along the breast crease on the underside of the breast. Both of these incision locations leave some degree of scarring on the breast, particularly the inframammary incision on the breast bottom.

There is another option, called the transaxillary incision, which doesn’t leave any scarring on the breasts. This is because the incision site is in the armpit. Our experienced, board-certified plastic surgery team of Dr. Cullen, Dr. Armstrong, and Dr. Martin has extensive experience with all forms of breast augmentation, including the transaxillary incision.

In this blog, we’ll discuss the transaxillary method.

What is transaxillary breast augmentation?

If a patient has opted for the transaxillary method, that means your Elite surgeon will place the implants through incisions made in the armpit. This incision location leads to both the pluses and the minuses of this method.

The incision is made vertically in the armpit in the natural crease. Your surgeon then inserts an endoscope, a narrow fiber-optic camera through the incision. This provides visuals of the anatomical structures and guides us throughout the procedure. This makes for much more precise implant positioning than with surgeons who do not use an endoscope in transaxillary augmentation. At this point, either the unfilled saline implant or the silicone implant is inserted through the incision and placed into the pocket created to hold the implant. Saline implants are filled in place, and then are checked for size and position. The fill tube is then removed and the implant automatically seals itself. The tube is withdrawn and the incision in the armpit closed. With silicone implants, we check position and symmetry and then close the incision. Once the first breast is finished we move to the other side.

What are the advantages of this incision?

The main advantage of the transaxillary incision is that it does not create any scarring on the breasts. Because the incisions are made in both armpits and are made vertically in the natural crease, they become barely noticeable. This is quite a contrast to implants placed through the breast crease at the bottom of the breast, which creates a noticeable scar. This can be very important for patients with darker skin tones, as their scarring will likely be somewhat more visible going forward. Also, since we don’t have to cut the chest muscle or any breast tissue, recovery from this incision location is easier for most patients.

What are the disadvantages of this incision?

In most cases, only saline or smaller-sized silicone implants can be placed through the armpit incision. For some surgeons, the placement of the implants through the transaxillary incision can be more difficult due to the distance from the incision to the location of the breast pocket. Our surgeons have extensive experience with this incision location, however, and have not had trouble with symmetry or other placement problems.

During your consultation, Dr. Cullen, Dr. Armstrong, or Dr. Martin will discuss your goals for your augmentation and together you will decide on your incision location. If you’re interested in breast augmentation, please give us a call and set up a consultation, (616) 459-1907.

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