Implants Placed through the Armpit

Sometimes when a potential breast augmentation patient comes in for her consultation with Drs. Michelle and Albert Carlotti she can be surprised that implants can be placed through incisions other than those made on the breasts. It’s common for patients to assume the incisions either need to be placed around the areolae or on the breast crease at the bottom of the breast.

But there are actually two other incision options, the transaxillary method and the transumbilical method (TUBA). In this blog, we’ll discuss the transaxillary method.

What is transaxillary breast augmentation?

If a patient has opted for the transaxillary method, that means Drs. Carlotti will place the implants through an incision in the armpit. This incision has both pluses and the minuses.

The incision is made vertically in the armpit in the natural crease. We then insert an endoscope, a narrow fiber-optic camera through the incision. This provides visuals of the anatomical structures and guides us 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. At that point, saline implants are filled, and then are checked for size and placement. 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 The tube is withdrawn and the incision in the armpit closed.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, we check position and symmetry and then close the incision. Then we move to the other breast.

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 we don’t have 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. Both Drs. Carlotti have extensive experience with this incision location, however, and have not had trouble with symmetry or other placement problems.

During your consultation, we’ll discuss your incision options for your breast augmentation. As with all of our consultations at Austin Cosmetic Surgery, this is a give and take exchange of information and questions. If you want to schedule your consultation, please call us at our Lakewood office, (512) 688-8000, or our Scottsdale office, (480) 947-7700.

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