Breast implant placement refers to whether breast implants are placed under or over the chest muscle during breast augmentation surgery. Among many things you’ll need to decide upon before your augmentation — from breast implant type and breast implant size to implant shape and texture — the placement of your implants is another important decision.
As with any of these decisions, there are benefits and drawbacks to both placement options. But before you rush into one choice or the other, it’s important to have a good understanding of both. This is good information to have under your belt before your consultation appointment.
Is It Better to Get Breast Implants Under the Muscle or Over?
There is no single answer to this question. Every patient will be evaluated based on their own health and needs.
At your consultation appointment, Dr. Schulman will assess your anatomy and talk to you about your goals for surgery. These two areas, primarily, will help the two of you decide which placement is best for you.
Some patients will do better with beneath-the-breast-tissue implant placement (also known as subglandular placement). Other patients will be better suited to beneath-the-muscle placement (also known as submuscular placement. Let’s take a look at these two types of breast implant placement.
Subglandular Breast Implant Placement
Subglandular placement means that the breast implant is placed beneath the glandular tissue in the breast but above the pectoralis major chest muscle.
With this option, surgery times are often shorter, and recovery can sometimes be less uncomfortable and shorter as well. It is often the best option for women who are naturally petite and muscular or have an athletic body type.
One drawback to subglandular breast implants is that regular mammograms can be more difficult when it comes to imaging the breast. This is simply because the implant can obscure the imaging.
Some patients may also have a harder time with scar tissue forming into capsular contracture. And if the breast tissue is thin, implants are sometimes too noticeable (poor tissue coverage) when they sit on top of the muscle. Visible rippling can become an issue.
Submuscular Breast Implant Placement
Sometimes referred to as subpectoral implant placement, submuscular placement means that the implant is placed beneath the pectoralis major chest muscle.
This can be a good option in terms of achieving a natural look. Many patients say their breast implants look more natural when they are placed beneath the chest muscles. Visible rippling is not as much of a problem, and you cannot “feel” the implants as readily as sometimes when they are in front of the pectoralis muscle. It’s also easier to get a clear image when getting a mammogram.
On the other hand, capsular contracture may be more of a problem with submuscular placement. Patients may also experience a longer and more uncomfortable recovery, when compared with subglandular breast implants.
Although this option is not recommended for patients with thin breast tissue, if you have more tissue coverage but struggle with sagging breasts, it may be a good choice.
What Is the Dual Plane Technique?
Some surgeons may recommend the dual plane technique. This option will place the upper half of the implant beneath the pectoral muscle, closer to the chest wall. And the lower half will be right beneath the outer layer of breast tissue (but over the muscle) and closer to the skin.
The key advantage of this option is typically a more natural looking result. However, several factors will dictate whether it’s the best placement for you, so always discuss with your surgeon first.
Breast Implant Placement Q&A
What is the best placement of breast implants?
Of the two aforementioned breast implant placement options, submuscular placement is probably the most common choice for an augmented breast. However, both options have their merits, and most plastic surgeons regularly perform both types. It really depends on your unique breasts and anatomy and what your desired outcome is.
What is the safest placement for the breast implant?
There is no right or wrong answer to this question. In fact, there is research supporting subglandular placement being slightly safer because it reduces complications with the pectoralis major muscle.
But there is also research suggesting that submuscular placement is slightly safer because it’s less likely that capsular contracture will be a problem with this option. Ultimately, check with your surgeon to know whether submuscular or subglandular breast implants are right for you.
Is breast augmentation recovery different for subglandular vs submuscular placement of implants?
If you have your implants placed behind your breast tissue but on top of your chest muscle, your recovery time may be slightly faster and easier than with submuscular placement.
Book Your Consultation to Discuss Breast Augmentation
Ultimately, we recommend speaking with a board certified plastic surgeon to know for sure whether submuscular or subglandular placement is best for your upcoming breast augmentation surgery. All patients and all breast augmentation procedures are different, so you’ll need to meet with a professional for a detailed analysis of your anatomy and goals before making a final decision.
At your consultation appointment, you can look at breast implants before and after photos to get a good idea of what your results may look like and discuss what to expect during recovery. You’ll also get a chance to discuss your estimated breast augmentation cost, what types of implants are right for you, and how to know if it’s really an augmentation you need or a different procedure like breast lift surgery.
To schedule your consultation with board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Matthew Schulman, please call our office today. We look forward to meeting with you.