Considering breast augmentation – should I choose subpectoral or submammary implants?

Silicone_gel-filled_breast_implantsWhen making the choice about what type of breast implant to choose, it is important to fully understand the process so that you can make an informed decision about what is right for you as an individual. In order to do this, the first starting point is understanding how the natural breast is constructed.

There are two key muscles in the breast, so working from the outside inwards, the first muscle is the pectoralis major muscle, which is the largest of the two breast muscles. Slotted in behind this is the pectoralis major muscle, which is both shorter and slimmer than the pectoralis major, and sits closer to the chest bone. Breast implants are inserted so that they either sit over both of these key muscles, or slotted in between them.

In terms of placing the implant, the technical terms for the placement of the implants are as follows: you can either opt for subpectoral or submammary, the differences of which are detailed below.

Submammary (sometimes called subglandular) placement

This procedure involves inserting an implant between the mammary gland and in front of both muscles. It is typically the less invasive of the two procedures, and as a result the expected healing time tends to be quicker.

This type of implant is closest to the skin and is often more suitable for women who naturally have more available breast tissue, as that can soften the look of the implant itself and help it look more natural.

The submammary placement technique is reflective of the early breast augmentation procedures that first took off in the 1960s, so has existed as a medical practice for a long time. When fully healed, this procedure often yields the most natural looking breasts.

Subpectoral placement

This operation involves slotting the implant in between the pectoralis major and pectoralis minor muscles, so that the implant is partially covered by the larger muscle.

This is preferred by women who wish the implant itself to be somewhat more discrete and if they are worried about future ‘rippling’ of the implant (which can sometimes happen, although is rare). The location of the implant behind the muscle reduces the risk of this being visible.

With the placing of the implant under the muscle, this can mean that the resulting breasts can feel softer when they are healed.

Owing to the fact that the surgeon has to work the implant in deeper, between the two breast muscles, the recovery time is naturally longer and patients usually experience a greater degree of pain after the operation.

It is important to read around both types of implant placements so that you can have an informed discussion with your surgeon about which the best option is for you.

Mr Park will be able to assess your individual case and make recommendations based on your motivation for surgery, your existing breast shape and mass, and also your frame.