What Is Best Breast Implant Placement? – Under, Over or Dual Plane

Submuscular, Subglandular and Dual Plane Breast Implant Placement

When it comes to Breast Augmentation, one of the critical decisions you’ll need to make is the position of your breast implant. The location of the implant can significantly impact not only the aesthetic outcome but also the comfort and longevity of the results.

In this blog, Consultant Plastic Surgeon Anthony MacQuillan will guide you through the pros and cons of the three main types of breast implant placement: under the muscle (submuscular), over the muscle (subglandular), and a combination of the two (dual plane).

The Basics of Breast Implant Placement

Breast implant placement refers to where the implant is positioned in relation to the breast tissue and the chest muscle (pectoralis muscle). There are three primary locations: submuscular (under the muscle), subglandular (over the muscle, but under the breast gland), and dual plane (partly under the muscle and partly under the gland). Each of these options has its own unique advantages and disadvantages.

Submuscular implant placement involves positioning the implant beneath the pectoralis major muscle. This placement can provide additional soft tissue coverage for the implant, potentially leading to a more natural-looking outcome. On the other hand, subglandular implant placement, also known as “over the muscle” placement, locates the implant between the breast tissue and the chest muscle. Lastly, dual plane placement is a hybrid approach that situates the implant partially under the muscle and partially under the breast tissue.

Submuscular Implant Placement

Submuscular implant placement, as the name suggests, involves positioning the breast implant behind the pectoral muscle. This placement is often recommended for thin women with little natural breast tissue. The muscle provides an additional layer of coverage for the implant, reducing the risk of visible implant edges and ripples.

However, submuscular implant placement does have some drawbacks. The surgical procedure is generally more invasive and may lead to a slightly longer recovery period. Also, there’s a phenomenon known as “animation deformity” that can occur with this placement. When you flex your pectoral muscles, it can cause the implants to move, distorting the shape of your breasts temporarily.

Despite these potential downsides, submuscular implant placement is commonly chosen for its natural-looking results and its lower risk of capsular contracture, a condition that occurs when the scar tissue around the implant tightens, causing discomfort and distortion.

Subglandular Implant Placement

Subglandular implant placement, or “over the muscle” placement, involves situating the implant between the breast tissue and the pectoralis muscle. This option is often recommended for women who have a moderate amount of natural breast tissue that can cover and support the implant.

One of the main benefits of subglandular placement is a shorter, less invasive surgery with a faster recovery time. Additionally, because the implants are not placed beneath the muscle, there is no risk of animation deformity. This placement can also allow for a more dramatic enhancement in breast shape and size.

But there are some drawbacks to consider. Subglandular placement may be more likely to result in visible implant edges and ripples, particularly in women with thin skin and little natural breast tissue. It also carries a slightly higher risk of capsular contracture compared to submuscular placement.

The Dual Plane Implant Placement

Dual plane implant placement is a hybrid approach that combines the benefits of both submuscular and subglandular placements. In this method, the upper portion of the implant is covered by the pectoralis muscle, while the lower portion is covered by the breast tissue. This placement can be particularly beneficial for women with mild to moderate breast sagging, as it can provide a slight lift.

One of the key advantages of dual plane placement is its ability to yield natural-looking results, especially in women with sagging breasts or those who want a significant increase in size. It allows Anthony to shape the breast more precisely, leading to a more aesthetically pleasing outcome.

Like any other method, dual plane placement has its drawbacks. The procedure is technically more complex and requires a high level of surgical skill and experience. It also carries a risk of animation deformity, although it’s typically less pronounced than with full submuscular placement.

Comparing the Three Breast Implant Placement Options

Comparing the three methods of breast implant placement can help you understand which one may be best for you. Submuscular placement, with its additional muscle coverage, can offer more natural-looking results and lower chances of capsular contracture, albeit with a slightly longer recovery period and the potential for animation deformity.

Subglandular placement, on the other hand, may involve a shorter recovery period and no risk of animation deformity. But it may lead to more visible implant edges and ripples, especially in women with little natural breast tissue. Finally, dual plane placement combines the advantages of both methods and can be particularly suitable for women with mild to moderate breast sagging.

Pros and Cons of Each Breast Implant Placement Option

Each breast implant placement option has its pros and cons. Submuscular placement can provide a more natural look and feel, especially in women with little natural breast tissue. However, this method can involve a longer recovery period and a risk of animation deformity.

Subglandular placement can offer a quicker recovery and no risk of animation deformity, but it may result in more noticeable implant edges and ripples. It also carries a slightly higher risk of capsular contracture.

Dual plane placement, meanwhile, offers a balance between the other two methods. It can provide natural-looking results in a wide range of patients, including those with sagging breasts. However, the surgical procedure is more complex and requires a highly skilled surgeon.

How to Choose the Best Option for Your Breast Implant Placement

Choosing the best option for your breast implant placement depends on a variety of factors: your body type, your breast anatomy, your desired outcome, your lifestyle, and your personal preferences. You should also consider Anthony’s expertise and recommendations.

The best way to make an informed decision is to have a thorough consultation with a qualified and experienced plastic surgeon. It’s important to discuss your goals, expectations, and concerns, and to ask about the pros and cons of each placement option.

FAQs about Breast Implant Placement

What you cannot do with breast implants?

  • With breast implants, there are certain activities and considerations that should be avoided or approached with caution. Firstly, it’s important to avoid any high-impact activities that could cause damage to the implants, especially soon after surgery. This includes contact sports or exercises that involve vigorous chest movements. Secondly, undergoing certain medical procedures, like mammograms, requires special techniques to avoid damaging the implants. It’s also advised to avoid extreme changes in weight, as this can affect the appearance and integrity of the implants. Lastly, while breast implants do not typically interfere with breastfeeding, it’s important to discuss this with Anthony, as certain types of incisions may impact lactation.

What is the best placement for breast implants?

  • The best placement for breast implants depends on various factors, including the individual’s body type, the desired aesthetic outcome, and the type of implant used. Generally, there are two primary placement options: submuscular (under the pectoral muscle) and subglandular (over the pectoral muscle, under the breast tissue). Submuscular placement is often recommended for a more natural look and feel, particularly for individuals with less natural breast tissue. It also tends to have a lower risk of capsular contracture (scar tissue formation around the implant) and is less likely to interfere with mammograms. The best placement should always be determined in consultation with a qualified plastic surgeon such as Anthony, who can assess individual needs and goals.

How long should breast implants stay in place?

  • Breast implants are not lifetime devices and may need to be replaced or removed over time. On average, implants can last anywhere from 10 to 20 years, but this varies depending on the type of implant, the individual’s body, and how well the implants are maintained. It’s important to monitor the implants regularly for any signs of wear, leakage, or changes in shape or texture. Regular check-ups with Anthony are crucial to assess the condition of the implants. If there are no complications, such as implant rupture or severe capsular contracture, implants may not need to be replaced within this timeframe. However, it’s important to understand that a second surgery may be necessary at some point in the future.

What are the restrictions after breast implants?

  • After breast implant surgery, there are several restrictions to ensure proper healing and reduce the risk of complications. In the immediate postoperative period, heavy lifting and strenuous activities should be avoided for at least 4-6 weeks. It’s also important to avoid sleeping on your stomach or sides to prevent pressure on the breasts. Wearing a supportive surgical bra as recommended by Anthony is crucial for supporting the breasts and maintaining the position of the implants. Direct sun exposure to the incision sites should be avoided to prevent scarring.

How does breast implant placement affect the final appearance?

  • The placement of breast implants significantly influences the final appearance and feel of the breasts. Submuscular placement, where the implant is positioned beneath the pectoral muscle, generally offers a more natural contour and slope, as the muscle provides additional coverage over the implant. This option is often preferred for individuals with less natural breast tissue, as it can help in disguising the edges of the implant. On the other hand, subglandular placement, where the implant is placed above the muscle but beneath the breast tissue, can provide more pronounced cleavage and a more noticeable augmentation effect. This option might be favoured by those who desire a more noticeable enhancement or have sufficient natural breast tissue to cover the implant. The choice between these placements depends on personal aesthetic goals, body type, and the recommendations of a qualified plastic surgeon.

Does breast implant placement affect recovery time?

  • The placement of breast implants can have an impact on the recovery process and time. Submuscular placement, where the implant is positioned under the pectoral muscle, typically involves a slightly longer and more uncomfortable recovery period. This is due to the additional manipulation of the muscle during surgery, which can result in more postoperative pain and a longer healing process. Patients may experience more discomfort and require a longer period of rest and limited activity. In contrast, subglandular placement, where the implant is placed over the muscle, usually results in a shorter and less painful recovery period, as the muscle is not disturbed. It’s important to note that individual recovery experiences can vary, and following Anthony’s postoperative instructions is crucial for a safe and effective healing process, regardless of the implant placement.

Further Reading about Breast Surgery with Consultant Plastic Surgeon Anthony MacQuillan

Medical References about Breast Implant Placement