What is Breast Implant Placement?
When a surgeon performs breast augmentation surgery, it's not a simple matter of making an incision, placing an implant, and closing up. The procedure requires precision, care of the surrounding breast tissue, and consideration of your aesthetic goals. The results you want to achieve depend on several factors, one of which is breast implant placement.
Before you have breast augmentation, you and your surgeon will discuss which placement option is best for you—submuscular (under the muscle) or subglandular (under the breast tissue/over the muscle). This choice will not only affect how you look after breast augmentation, but what complications may be more likely, and how your breasts will feel and move after you've fully healed.
Submuscular Breast Implant Placement
The pectoralis major is a fan-shaped chest muscle that stretches from your sternum (breastbone) and clavicle (collarbone) over to the top of your humerus (upper arm bone). Submuscular breast implant placement refers to the implant being placed under this muscle.
Why Choose Submuscular Breast Implant Placement?
Submuscular placement has a few advantages over subglandular placement:
- The implants cannot be felt as easily under the muscle.
- If the implant wrinkles, there's less chance of it showing through the skin as breast rippling, one of the potential breast augmentation complications.
- There's less chance of capsular contracture occurring.
- It offers more breast augmentation incision placement options.
- It may be easier to detect breast cancer at an early stage as the breast tissue is not obscured by the implants.
Submuscular Breast Implant Placement Drawbacks
Just as it has some benefits, submuscular breast implant placement also has some potential negative factors:
- It requires a longer surgery, which increases risk.
- It results in a longer breast augmentation recovery.
- The risks of increased pain and bleeding are higher.
- If an implant ruptures, or needs to be removed or replaced for any reason, the surgery will be much more complicated.
- The breasts may not move as naturally because they sit behind the muscle wall.
- The risk of breast implant displacement is increased due to the chest muscle contracting. This risk is increased in athletes, or women who perform strenuous activities that require development of the chest muscles.
Subglandular Breast Implant Placement
When breast implants are placed beneath the breast tissue, but over the pectoralis major muscle, it's called subglandular breast implant placement.
Why Choose Subglandular Breast Implant Placement?
Subglandular placement has a few advantages over submuscular placement:
- The breasts look more natural because the implant sits directly behind the natural breast tissue.
- The breasts move more naturally because they're not restricted by the muscle wall.
- It requires a shorter surgery, which decreases risk.
- It requires a shorter recovery period.
- The risks of increased pain and bleeding are reduced because only skin and fat are cut, not muscle.
- If an implant ruptures, or needs to be removed or replaced for any reason, the surgery will be easier.
- It may create more appealing cleavage, partly because the breasts can move more easily.
- With the pectoralis muscle supporting the implants from behind, the breasts get a bit of extra lift.
Subglandular Breast Implant Placement Drawbacks
Just as it has some benefits, subglandular breast implant placement also has some potential negative factors:
- The risk of capsular contracture is increased.
- It may be more difficult to detect breast cancer at an early stage because the implants may obscure some breast tissue.
- If the implant wrinkles, it may become visible through the skin as breast rippling.
- It offers fewer breast augmentation incision placement options.
- The breasts may feel less natural if the implant can be felt through the breast tissue.