When considering breast implants, a person should research the different implant types, risks and techniques in order to get an idea of the available options. One of the most popular implant options is when an incision is made under the natural fold of the breast where it meets the chest. This creased area is known as the inframammary fold and the incision is called an inframammary incision.
The breast is made up of a collection of tissues which include glandular, fibrous and fatty tissues. The pectoral muscles are located below the breast. Loose fibrous strands connect the breast and chest wall at the inframammary fold. There are also strong fibrous connections which hold the skin to the chest wall. The lower portion of the breast is not connected to the chest wall by fibrous tissue. The fold, or crease, is actually formed by the pull of gravity on the lower breast tissue.
When an inframammary incision is used in breast implant srugery, the surgeon has optimal visibility to work closely to the breast. The surgeon selects the most optimal location in the fold and creates a pocket. Unlike other methods, the inframammary incision permits the implant to be placed subglandular, partial submuscular or completely submuscular. The placement of the implant depends on the patient’s preference, lifestyle, size of the implant and natural breast tissue. The implant is slid through the incision, placed upward and centered behind the nipple within the pocket. The incision is closed with layered sutures within the breast tissue. The skin is then closed with sutures, surgical tape or skin adhesive.
Another notable advantage is that the scar from an inframammary incision is usually well hidden beneath the swimsuit top. However, it is important to understand that when the patient lies down, the scar will be more noticeable. On the other hand, if an additional surgery is warranted, the same incision location can be used without any further scarring. With an incision in the armpit or areola, the likelihood of an infection or breastfeeding complications is a major concern due to the milk glands located in those areas. The lack of this concern makes the inframammary incision a safer alternative for many women.
Before consulting with a surgeon, patients should compile a list of questions to ask during the initial appointment. Patients should consider all their options before deciding which type of implant, placement and incision to undergo.