A mammoplasty procedure for the emplacement of breast implant devices has three purposes:
- primary reconstruction — the replacement of breast tissues damaged by trauma (blunt, penetrating, blast), disease (breast cancer), and failed anatomic development (tuberous breast deformity).
- revision and reconstruction — to revise (correct) the outcome of a previous breast reconstruction surgery.
- primary augmentation — to aesthetically augment the size, form, and feel of the breasts.
Breast implant emplacement is performed with five types of surgical incisions:
- Inframammary — an incision made to the infra-mammary fold (IMF), which affords maximal access for precise dissection of the tissues and emplacement of the breast implants. It is the preferred surgical technique for emplacing silicone-gel implants, because it better exposes the breast tissue–pectoralis muscle interface; yet, IMF implantation can produce thicker, slightly more visible surgical scars.
- Periareolar — a border-line incision along the periphery of the areola, which provides an optimal approach when adjustments to the IMF position are required, or when a mastopexy (breast lift) is included to the primary mammoplasty procedure. In periareolar emplacement, the incision is around the medial-half (inferior half) of the areola’s circumference. Silicone gel implants can be difficult to emplace via periareolar incision, because of the short, five-centimetre length (~ 5.0 cm) of the required access-incision. Aesthetically, because the scars are at the areola’s border (periphery), they usually are less visible than the IMF-incision scars of women with light-pigment areolae; when compared to cutaneous-incision scars, the modified epithelia of the areolae are less prone to (raised) hypertrophic scars.
- Transaxillary — an incision made to the axilla (armpit), from which the dissection tunnels medially, to emplace the implants, either bluntly or with anendoscope (illuminated video microcamera), without producing visible scars on the breast proper; yet, it is likelier to produce inferior asymmetry of the implant-device position. Therefore, surgical revision of transaxillary emplaced breast implants usually requires either an IMF incision or a periareolar incision.
- Transumbilical — a trans-umbilical breast augmentation (TUBA) is a less common implant-device emplacement technique wherein the incision is at the umbilicus (navel), and the dissection tunnels superiorly, up towards the bust. The TUBA approach allows emplacing the breast implants without producing visible scars upon the breast proper; but makes appropriate dissection and device-emplacement more technically difficult. A TUBA procedure is performed bluntly — without the endoscope’s visual assistance — and is not appropriate for emplacing (pre-filled) silicone-gel implants, because of the great potential for damaging the elastomer silicone shell of the breast implant during its manual insertion through the short (~2.0 cm) incision at the navel, and because pre-filled silicone gel implants are incompressible, and cannot be inserted through so small an incision.
- Transabdominal — as in the TUBA procedure, in the trans-abdominoplasty breast augmentation (TABA), the breast implants are tunneled superiorly from the abdominal incision into bluntly dissected implant pockets, whilst the patient simultaneously undergoes an abdominoplasty.