Breast Implant Placement

There are two basic methods plastic surgeons use to position breast implants during breast augmentation: subglandular placement, or “over the muscle,” and submuscular placement, also known as “under the muscle.” Dr. Flint strongly prefers submuscular placement, and uses this method almost exclusively. In her experience, this implant placement method achieves the most naturally appealing breast augmentation with a lower risk of post-operative issues.

About Submuscular Implant Placement

When breast implants are placed “under the muscle,” they are actually positioned partially beneath the outer pectoral (chest) muscle. During surgery, the lower attachment of the pectoral muscle is released from the chest wall to create a pocket for the breast implant. The breast implant is situated in this pocket, with the pectoral muscle covering the top part of the implant, and breast tissue covering the bottom portion.

Surgeon skill is key for a safe, aesthetically pleasing result, so choose a board certified plastic surgeon who is experienced in submuscular breast augmentation. The muscle health is not compromised and exercises involving the chest are not restricted following a proper recovery. There are multiple advantages to placing the breast implant beneath the chest muscle:

  • Better implant coverage for a more natural result
  • Improved breast shape and position
  • Less risk of visible implant edges or rippling
  • Full muscle function is retained with a skillfully performed surgery
  • Mammogram results are easier to read, because your breast tissue is not obscured by the implant

Recovery after submuscular implant placement

Because the muscle is manipulated during a submuscular breast augmentation, recovery may take slightly longer than with over-the-muscle procedures. However, the difference in pain level is minimal based on our patients’ feedback, and the superior aesthetic appeal, support for the breast implant, and reduced risk for complications are worth any additional recovery days needed with under-the-muscle placement.

A brief word about subglandular implant placement

The alternative breast implant placement option, subglandular placement, is being used less and less frequently by experienced plastic surgeons; Dr. Flint very rarely recommends this placement for patients. A subglandular breast augmentation places the implant over the chest muscle, underneath the existing breast tissue. With less implant coverage, especially in smaller breasted patients who have very little natural tissue to conceal the implant, there is a greater risk for palpable and sometimes visible implant edges, rippling, and other unwanted side effects.

Learn more about breast augmentation in Scottsdale

For more information about breast augmentation with Dr. Patti Flint, please read our additional resources about the steps and choices involved in a breast augmentation procedure: