Implants Placed through the Armpit

While Dr. Yates performs most of his augmentation procedures by making an small incision at the bottom of the breast crease (inframammary) on each breast, some patients wonder about the pros and cons of using the transaxillary method, where implants are placed through incisions made in the armpit.   

In this blog, let’s go through what’s involved with the transaxillary method for breast augmentation. 

What is transaxillary breast augmentation? 

If a patient has opted for the transaxillary method, that means implants will be placed through incisions made in the armpit. This incision location leads to both the pluses and the minuses. 

The incision is made vertically in the armpit in the natural crease. The pocket is then created with either direct visualization or “blindly”.   If it is done with visualization, a plastic surgeon inserts an endoscope, a narrow fiber-optic camera through the incision. This provides visuals of the anatomical structures and guides him throughout the procedure. This makes for much more precise implant positioning than with surgeons who do not use an endoscope in transaxillary augmentation. At this point, either the unfilled saline implant or the silicone implant is inserted through the incision and placed into the pocket created to hold the implant.  

What are the advantages of this incision? 

The main advantage of the transaxillary incision is that it does not create any scarring on the breasts.  The scar quality is generally about the same as the quality of a scar around the nipple or under the breast crease, but the location hides better when the patient is in the nude.   

What are the disadvantages of this incision? 

In most cases, only saline or smaller-sized silicone implants can be placed through the armpit incision. 

The risk of implant position asymmetry is higher with the axillary approach.  There are a number of factors at play.  First, the surgeon cannot assess the precise pocket location and dimension with his or her gloved fingertips, a step that Dr. Yates considers critical.  Second, it is impossible to assess both pockets at the same time for exact symmetry.   Thirdly, there is a tunnel created from the armpit to the breast that the implant can slip into and we often find these implants heal too high or too wide on one side or the other. 

Studies have shown a higher risk of capsular contracture when using the axillary incision.   Armpit bacteria are likely to blame.   

During your consultation, Dr. Yates will discuss the pros and cons of various aspects of breast augmentation, including the transaxillary incision. If you’re considering augmentation, call Dr. Yates to set up a consultation. Call us at (801) 938-7869.

Posted in: Blog, breast augmentation

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Dr. York Yates
2121 N 1700 W
Layton, UT 84041
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2121 N 1700 W, Layton, UT 84041 801.525.8741