Implants Placed through the Armpit

Young woman wearing a compressing bra after a breast enhancement surgery It can seem hard to imagine placing breast implants without needing an incision either on the breasts or at the breast crease beneath 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 Dr. Kearney will place the implants through an incision 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. Kearney 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. 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 The tube is withdrawn and the incision in the armpit closed.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.

Are there disadvantages to the transaxillary incision?

Some surgeons will tell you they can only place small implants through the transaxillary incision. Not true. 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.

Many plastic surgeons aren’t comfortable using the transaxillary incision location, and they’ll often push patients into the inframammary incision on the breast crease. But as you can see in our Before & After gallery, Dr. Kearney has had great success for patients using the transaxillary incision.  

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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