Breast Implant Placement Options
One of several factors that need to be determined before undergoing a breast augmentation procedure is the placement of the implant. The two options to consider are a subglandular placement, in which the implant is positioned beneath the breast tissue, and a submuscular placement, in which the implant is placed beneath the pectoral muscle. Each technique offers its own advantages. A comprehensive discussion of a patient’s unique goals and objectives will help the doctor to establish what type of placement will be best suited in that particular case.
Subglandular Implant Placement
A subglandular implant is positioned in between the muscle of the chest and the breast tissue that rests upon it. This is a popular option for women who are interested in a significant increase in the contour of their breasts. Subglandular placement allows for a fuller shape and larger size in order to create a more substantial cleavage.
Placing the implant below the breast tissue is ideal for women with breasts that are naturally farther apart. The subglandular placement fills the breasts out and the result is an attractive silhouette with breasts that are closer together. Patients can feel more confident wearing open necklines.
A subglandular implant placement is often the best technique for women who enjoy an active lifestyle as well. The chest muscles are not disturbed during placement of the implant because the implant is positioned above them. In addition, when the pectoral muscles are being used, a submuscular implant may temporarily shift in place, creating an unnatural appearance.
The potential disadvantage of a subglandular implant is that this type of placement has a greater chance of causing a capsular contracture over time. A capsular contracture is among the more common complications that may develop after breast augmentation. This condition occurs when scar tissue that forms around the implant hardens and begins to squeeze the implant. Capsular contracture can cause pain, rippling in the skin of the breast and movement of the breast implant, in some cases creating a distorted shape in the breast. Surgery may be needed to remove the scar tissue or to replace the implant.
Submuscular Implant Placement
A submuscular implant is positioned beneath the pectoral muscle of the chest. This option is frequently best for women who wish to attain a more understated breast augmentation. A submuscular placement may be the optimal technique for women who have naturally small breasts without substantial breast tissue as well as those who are very thin or small boned.
One of the major advantages of a submuscular placement over placement beneath the breast tissue only is a reduced risk of capsular contracture. Placement below the muscle also may cause less interference with breast examinations and mammography testing.
A downside to submuscular implant placement has traditionally been the extensive recovery period it required. A need for drainage tubes and elevated pain in the first few days following surgery was a disadvantage to this method. However, recent advances in the surgical technique for placement that employ smaller incisions and affect far less tissue have improved the recovery time considerably. The healing process is now faster and much more comfortable than using older methods.
A thorough consultation with an experienced cosmetic plastic surgeon will help you decide which type of placement option may be best for you.