Implants Placed through the Armpit

Many of Dr. Smith’s patients considering having breast augmentation assume implants are typically 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. Many plastic surgeons prefer the relative simplicity of these incision locations, and they subtly push their patients toward this incision choice.

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. Dr. Smith has extensive experience with all breast augmentation options, including the transaxillary incision.

In this blog, we’ll discuss this method.

What is transaxillary breast augmentation?

If a patient has opted for the transaxillary method, that means Dr. Smith 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. Dr. Smith then inserts an endoscope, a narrow fiber-optic camera through the incision. This provides visuals of the anatomical structures and guides him 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 The tube is withdrawn and the incision in the armpit closed.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, Dr. Smith checks position and symmetry and then closes the incision. Once the first breast is finished, he moves 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 Dr. Smith doesn’t need 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. Dr. Smith has extensive experience with this incision location, however, and hasn’t had trouble with symmetry or other placement problems.

During your consultation with Dr. Smith you’ll 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, (843) 705-8940.


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