Placing Implants Through the Armpit?

When patients begin to consider having breast augmentation with Dr. Kearney, they think of where their incisions will be. Most people assume the incisions needed to insert the implants are made along the breast crease at the bottom of the breasts, and that is a popular location. One of the drawbacks to having implants placed here is the obvious scarring on the underside of the breasts. Dr. Kearney places the incision just above the crease, making it easily hidden under a bikini top or a bra, but there will still be a visible scar on both breasts.

Implants can also be placed through an incision made around the areola. These scars are well hidden, but the implant size can be limited due to the obvious small incision option.

There is another option that many women don’t know about, at least not when doing their initial research on augmentation. Implants can be placed through incisions made in the armpits. This is known as the transaxillary incision and it doesn’t create any scarring on the breasts. Here’s some more information on this option.

What is transaxillary breast augmentation?

For these procedures, Dr. Kearney makes the incision vertically in the armpit in the natural crease. He then inserts an endoscope, a narrow fiber-optic camera through the incision. This provides visuals of the anatomical structures and guides Dr. Kearney 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 The tube is withdrawn and the incision in the armpit closed.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, Dr. Kearney checks position and symmetry and then closes the incision. Then he moves 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 Dr. Kearney doesn’t have to cut the chest muscle or any breast tissue, recovery from this incision location is easier for most patients. Also, breast nipple sensation and breastfeeding ability are not impacted with this incision location.

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. Kearney has extensive experience with this incision location, however, and has not had trouble with symmetry or other placement problems.

During your consultation, Dr. Kearney and you will 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, (858) 677-9352.

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