Breast Implants: Above or Below the Muscle
At over 300,000 procedures, breast augmentation (breast implant surgery) was the most popular cosmetic surgery procedure performed in the U.S. in 2017.
Why are breast implants so popular? As women, our breasts change naturally with aging and as we go through life-changing events like pregnancy and fluctuations in weight. The tissue in our breasts may start to sag, causing them to lose shape and volume over time.
To address this, breast implants are a safe and effective way to restore the youthful fullness and shape of our breasts while maintaining a natural look. We have options in terms of where to put the breast implants – above or below the muscle – specifically the pectoralis major muscle. This muscle is the one you call on for yoga poses and for push-ups.
Deciding whether to get breast implants above or below the muscle can depend on a few different factors. Read on to find out what makes us choose one approach over the other.
Breast Implants: Above or Below the Muscle – Appearance
Will above the muscle or below the muscle implant placement look better for you? It depends! For the breast implants to look most natural, they need to be covered by your own tissue. Some women have enough padding, or soft tissue coverage, above the muscles on their chest. In these cases a breast implant above the muscle would look natural. When women don’t have that coverage, we use the muscle to camouflage the implants.
Another consideration is whether or not your surgical plan includes a breast lift along with the breast augmentation. When you come in for your consultation, we discuss the different approaches to breast implant placement and how they pertain to your physique.
Breast Implants: Above or Below the Muscle – Recovery
Recovery time from breast augmentation varies based on where the implants are placed. Implants above the muscle heal rapidly, with women returning to their light activities within a week and resuming most activities by the end of the second week.
Breast implants below the muscle tend to take longer to heal in the initial recovery period because the muscle swells, and we need to allow time for the swelling to subside. That swelling might take a few weeks to go down, and women with implants below the muscle will want to ease back into their fitness routines.
Breast Implants: Above or Below the Muscle – Other Considerations
Other important considerations play a role in whether you choose to put your breast implants above or below the muscle.
One example is breastfeeding. Although it is possible to breastfeed after implants are placed above the muscle, women who hope to breastfeed future children may choose to go below the muscle, which maximizes future breastfeeding potential. What about mammograms? Studies have shown that having breast augmentation surgery does not change breast cancer detection in women, so you can pick the location that’s right for you.
Making Your Decision
When done by a board-certified plastic surgeon, breast implants can look and feel natural regardless of whether they are above or below the muscle. If you have enough padding in your upper chest, either approach might meet your needs. On the other hand, women without much padding in the upper part of their chest may choose breast implants under the muscle to have a more natural look and feel.
Breast implants are sometimes a small part of the full package. Whether you are having a mommy makeover, a breast lift with breast implants, or liposuction and a breast augmentation, it is important to understand the different ways we help you determine what’s best for you.
Tannan Plastic Surgery and its all-female staff have the skills and experience to help you with your breast augmentation needs. As a board-certified female plastic surgeon and a mother, I know firsthand many of the responsibilities you face each and every day. I am here to guide you along this process with my expertise and understanding. When looking for the best plastic surgeon in the Triangle, look no further. Come see us at Tannan Plastic Surgery in Brier Creek of Raleigh, a short drive away from Cary, Chapel Hill, Durham, Holly Springs and surrounding areas.