Types of Breast Implant Incisions for Augmentation

By Dr Jake Lim – Plastic Surgeon | Updated: February 26, 2024

What Are the Different Types of Breast Implant Incisions?

When considering breast augmentation, the decision is far from simple or straightforward. It involves a complex interplay of personal preferences, health considerations, and lifestyle factors. Each individual approaches this choice from a unique perspective, influenced by their aspirations, and medical background. The type of incision made during the surgery is one of the key decisions to make. Being aware of the various types of incisions is essential in aligning your surgery with your personal needs and expectations.

In this blog, Sydney-based Plastic Surgeon Dr Jake Lim will explore the different types of breast implant incisions, helping you understand their distinct characteristics and implications.

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Breast Surgery Guide

Why It’s Important to Choose the Right Breast Implant Incision

This choice can have a big impact on everything from how your surgery goes to the final look and feel of your breasts. Here are some reasons why breast implant incision is important:

Surgical Access and Implant Placement

  • Different incisions offer Dr Lim various ways to access your breast tissue and chest muscles
  • This can affect how well Dr Lim can place and position the implant
  • Some incisions might be better for certain types of implants or placement techniques

Scarring

  • The location and size of the incision will directly impact where and how big the scar is
  • Some incisions are made in less visible areas, which can be a big plus if you’re worried about scars
  • The way your body heals also plays a part in how noticeable the scar will be

Recovery and Complications

  • Some incision types might lead to a quicker and easier recovery
  • The risk of complications, like infection or poor healing, can vary with different incision sites
  • Your daily activities and lifestyle can influence which incision type suits you best for a smooth recovery

Aesthetic Results

  • The incision type can impact the final look of your breasts
  • Some incisions allow for more precise placement of the implant, which can affect the overall shape and symmetry
  • The visibility of scars is a big part of the aesthetic outcome, so think about how this might affect your satisfaction with the surgery

Inframammary Incision

The inframammary incision is a popular choice for many undergoing breast augmentations. Here’s a closer look at its features, benefits, and things to think about:

Characteristics

  • Location: This incision is made right along the crease under the breast, known as the inframammary fold
  • Length: The cut is usually between 3 to 5 cm, which is enough for most types of implants
  • Visibility: Most of the time, this scar is hidden under the natural breast fold, making it less noticeable

Advantages

  • Excellent Surgical Access: This type of incision gives Dr Lim a great view and access to the breast area, allowing for precise placement of the implant
  • Suitable for Various Implants: Whether it’s saline or silicone, or even larger-sized implants, this incision works well
  • Easier Future Revisions: If there’s a need for any adjustments or changes down the line, this incision type makes it simpler to do

Considerations

  • Scar Visibility: Although the scar is often well-hidden, it can be more visible when you’re lying down or if you wear certain types of clothing that reveal the under-breast area
  • Healing Process: Like any surgery, the healing process can vary from person to person. The way your body heals can affect how noticeable the scar becomes
  • Impact on Breast Shape: Depending on your natural breast shape and size, the inframammary incision might have different aesthetic outcomes

Choosing an inframammary incision is a popular option due to its practicality and versatility. It’s particularly favoured for its ability to accommodate a wide range of implant types and sizes, as well as its typically discreet scarring. However, personal factors like your natural breast shape and how you feel about potential scarring are important to consider. Dr Lim can provide more personalised advice based on your individual circumstances.

Breast Augmentation Patient 81 - 365cc Round Implants Under Muscle
Breast Augmentation Patient 81 – 365cc Round Implants Under Muscle

Periareolar Incision

The periareolar incision is another technique often chosen for breast augmentation, involving an incision around the areola. Here are its characteristics, benefits, and points to consider:

Characteristics

  • Location: This incision is neatly placed at the edge of the areola, the pigmented area surrounding the nipple
  • Length: It can either go around a part or the entire circumference of the areola
  • Visibility: Thanks to the natural colour and texture change of the areola border, the scar tends to blend in well

Advantages

  • Ideal for Additional Procedures: If you’re also considering a breast lift, this incision allows for that procedure to be combined easily
  • Scar Concealment: The natural transition in skin colour and texture at the areola helps in making the scar less noticeable
  • Flexibility: This incision provides good flexibility for various surgical approaches, especially when precise placement of the implant is required

Considerations

  • Nipple Sensation: There’s a potential risk that this type of incision could affect the sensation in the nipple, which is something to think seriously about
  • Breastfeeding Concerns: If you plan to breastfeed in the future, this incision could have an impact, as it involves cutting through milk ducts and glandular tissue
  • Risk of Implant Contamination: The incision passes through breast tissue, which can increase the risk of bacteria contaminating the implant

When considering a periareolar incision, it’s important to weigh these factors. Its ability to hide scars effectively makes it a desirable choice for many, but the potential impacts on nipple sensation and breastfeeding are significant considerations. Additionally, the slightly higher risk of implant contamination is something to discuss thoroughly with Dr Lim. Your specific circumstances and priorities will play a big role in deciding if this is the right type of incision for you.

Transaxillary Incision

The transaxillary incision is a distinctive approach for breast augmentation, involving an incision in the armpit area. Here are the characteristics, advantages, and important considerations:

Characteristics

  • Location: This incision is made in the natural folds of the armpit, keeping it well-hidden
  • Length: The cut is usually about 4-5 cm, which is adequate for the insertion of the implant
  • Visibility: One of the biggest perks is that there’s no scar on the breast itself, as the incision is entirely in the armpit area

Advantages

  • No Breast Scars: If you’re concerned about scars on your breasts, this incision type completely bypasses that issue
  • Ideal for Those Who Scar Easily: For women who tend to develop prominent scars, having the incision in a less visible area like the armpit can be a big advantage

Considerations

  • Surgical Visibility: The transaxillary approach can limit Dr Lim’s visibility and access during the procedure, which might affect the precise placement of the implant
  • Not Suited for Silicone Implants: Typically, this incision isn’t recommended for silicone implants, mainly due to the small size of the incision, making it challenging to insert larger, pre-filled implants. It is also not recommended for tear drop shaped implants as it may be difficult to orientate the implants correctly
  • Future Surgeries: If you need any additional surgeries in the future, it may not be possible to use the same incision site, which could mean additional scarring in another area

When considering a transaxillary incision, it’s important to weigh these factors against your personal preferences and the specifics of your case. While the hidden scar is a significant plus for many, the limitations in terms of implant type and potential challenges with surgical access and future revisions are crucial points to discuss with Dr Lim. This incision type could be the right choice if your priority is to avoid breast scars and you’re opting for certain types of implants.

Factors Influencing the Choice of Incision

Several factors come into play, shaping this important decision:

Patient’s Anatomy

  • Breast Size and Shape: Your natural breast size and shape can influence which incision type is most suitable. For instance, if you have smaller breasts, certain incisions might be more discreet
  • Skin Quality: Your skin’s elasticity and healing capabilities are crucial. If you have skin that scars easily or doesn’t heal well, certain incision types might be recommended to minimise visible scarring
  • Chest Wall Characteristics: The structure of your chest wall can also influence the incision choice, especially regarding how the implants will sit and look post-surgery

Type and Size of Implant

  • Compatibility with Incision Types: Not all incisions are suitable for every type of implant. For example, the transaxillary incision is generally not recommended for silicone implants
  • Size Matters: Larger implants might require a longer incision, which can limit your options
  • Implant Texture and Shape: The texture (smooth or textured) and shape (round or anatomical) of the implant can also influence the choice of incision

Patient’s Personal Preference

  • Scarring Concerns: Your feelings about where and how much scarring you’re comfortable with will heavily influence the decision. Some prefer incisions that are more hidden, even if they come with other trade-offs
  • Recovery Expectations: Your lifestyle and how much downtime you can afford for recovery might also guide the choice of incision. Some incisions may have longer recovery periods or more post-operative care needs
  • Future Considerations: If you’re planning future surgeries, like a breast lift or revision, this might influence the choice of incision to allow for easier adjustments later

Taking these factors into account helps ensure that the decision about the incision type is tailored to your unique situation. It’s a blend of what’s technically best, and what aligns with your personal preferences and lifestyle needs. A thorough discussion with Dr Lim, considering these aspects, will guide you towards the most suitable choice for your breast augmentation.

FAQs about Types of Breast Implant Incisions

FAQs

Can the type of incision affect the longevity of breast implants?

  • While the incision type doesn’t directly impact the longevity of breast implants, it can influence factors related to long-term satisfaction and maintenance. For example, certain incisions might make future revisions or replacements more straightforward.

Is there a difference in pain levels between the different incision types?

  • Pain levels can vary slightly depending on the incision type, mainly due to the location and extent of the surgical cut. Individual pain tolerance and your surgeon’s technique also play significant roles in post-operative discomfort.

How do I know if my body will heal well from a specific type of incision?

  • Healing abilities vary from person to person. Your past experiences with healing from cuts or wounds and previous scars can give some indication. Dr Lim can also assess factors like skin elasticity and overall health to predict healing outcomes.

Are there specific lifestyle considerations that might influence my incision choice?

  • Yes, your lifestyle can impact the choice of incision. For example, if you’re very active or engage in sports, some incisions might be recommended to ensure a smoother recovery and less impact on your activities.

Can I choose my incision type based on the type of clothing I usually wear?

  • Your wardrobe preferences can be discussed with your surgeon, especially if you frequently wear styles that might reveal scars from certain types of incisions. Dr Lim can advise on the best incision to suit your lifestyle and clothing choices.

Further Reading about Breast Implants Surgery with Dr Jake Lim

Medical References about Types of Breast Implant Incisions

About Dr Jake Lim

Highly qualified and experienced specialist plastic surgeon Dr Jake Lim focuses on facial plastic, cosmetic breast and body contouring after significant weight loss

Dr Lim creates the best possible plastic surgery results for his Australia-wide and international patients.

Dr Lim is passionate about making sure each and every patient has access to the right information about available treatments and procedures and is able to make well-informed decisions.

At My Klinik, patient safety, education and achieving optimal results are our top priorities.