Is the Transaxillary Breast Augmentation Incision Right for You?

February 13, 2016 — by Stephen Hardy M.D.
Tags: Breast Augmentation Plastic Surgery

A woman with shapely breasts, relaxing in lingerieWeight loss, pregnancy, or aging can cause the breasts to become deflated and look less perky, making some women unhappy with their appearance. In addition, some women have small breasts due to genetics. Breast augmentation can improve the appearance of the breasts by increasing their fullness and shapeliness. Breast implants can be placed using different types of incisions. The type you choose is best decided by you and your plastic surgeon. To find out if the transaxillary breast augmentation incision is right for you, schedule a consultation with our Missoula, MT practice, Northwest Plastic Surgery Associates.

The Transaxillary Incision and Breast Augmentation

Patients that wish to avoid scarring on the breasts may want to consider the transaxillary incision for breast implant placement. The transaxillary approach is performed by making a small incision in each underarm, along the natural folds of the armpit. This helps to make scarring less noticeable and to avoid any scarring on the breasts.

Once an incision is made in the underarm, a path is made from the underarm to the breast, where the pocket is created either under the chest muscle or behind the breast tissue. This path is then used to place the implant within the breast pocket. Once the desired position is obtained, the incision will be sutured closed.  

After breast augmentation surgery, patients can expect to feel some pain and discomfort and will likely experience some swelling and bruising. Within a few days after transaxillary breast augmentation, many patients are able to return to work and their normal routine. However, patients should avoid heavy lifting and raising the arms above the head until approved by the surgeon.

The Risks and Benefits of Transaxillary Breast Augmentation Incisions

Like with all surgery, there are some risks associated with breast augmentation using a transaxillary incision. Some of the risks include:

  • Nerve damage: Although rare, nerve damage may occur to the hands or arms with transaxillary incisions. In many cases, nerve damage is temporary.
  • Breast asymmetry: Symmetrically placing the breasts with a transaxillary approach is more challenging than with incisions made within the breasts. Choosing an experienced surgeon can help avoid the risk of breast asymmetry.
  • Transaxillary incisions cannot be reopened for breast revision: Transaxillary incisions cannot be reopened in the event revision is needed or implants need to be replaced.

The transaxillary breast augmentation incision is also associated with a number of benefits, including:

  • Less risk to breastfeeding: Because transaxillary incisions are made within the underarm, they pose less risk to the mammary glands, which is something to consider for women who would like to breastfeed in the future. 
  • No scarring on the breasts: Transaxillary incisions allow breast implants to be placed without any scarring to the breasts.

Learn More about Breast Augmentation Options

The transaxillary incision is only one of the approaches for placing breast implants. For more information about the transaxillary breast augmentation incision, or to discuss other incision options, we invite you to schedule a consultation with our team at Northwest Plastic Surgery Associates.

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