Breast Implants Incision FAQs

There are four types of incisions that breast surgeons use when performing breast augmentation. Here you will find answers to your most frequently asked questions on the various incision patterns, their risks, benefits and healing patterns.

  1. How many types of breast implant incisions are there?
  2. Which breast augmentation incision is best?
  3. How long are breast augmentation incisions?
  4. Can a breast lift and breast augmentation be done with the same incision?
  5. Can a bra irritate breast augmentation incision lines?
  6. Does the transumbilical breast augmentation (TUBA) incision reduce risk of staph infections?
  7. How long does it take for breast implant scars to fade in all the incision placements?
  8. Will my surgeon use permanent or dissolvable incisions for my breast augmentation incision lines?
  9. What are Steri-Strips™ or surgi-tape?
  10. Can my surgeon use fibrin tissue sealant (tissue glue) on my breast incisions?
  11. How can I tell if I have an infection after my sutures are removed?
  12. How long do I have to wait to use scar remedies on my incision lines?
  13. Can primary breast augmentation incisions be used for revision breast augmentation?
  14. Is transumbilical breast augmentation (TUBA) a scarless procedure?

1. How many types of breast implant incisions are there?

There are four basic locations for incisions in breast augmentation surgery. They include:

  • Inframammary (crease incision). The incision is located in the crease below each breast.
  • Periareolar incision (nipple incision).
  • Transaxillary (armpit incision).
  • Transumbilical (belly button incision).

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2. Which breast augmentation incision is best?

There is no one-size-fits-all incision for breast implants surgery. It is one of the many decisions you must make together with your board-certified plastic surgeon. Incision pattern depends on many factors, such as implant type, implant size, your anatomy, your lifestyle, and your surgeon's preferences.

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3. How long are breast augmentation incisions?

The answer depends on many factors, including incision placement as well as implant surface, type and size. For example, the incisions for transumbilical breast augmentation (TUBA) are very short and not visible. In general, incisions can be anywhere from 1 inch to 4 inches. Larger implant sizes may require longer incisions. Prefilled silicone-gel breast implants need larger incisions than saline breast implants, which are filled after they are implanted.

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4. Can a breast lift and breast augmentation be done with the same incision?

Yes. If you are having a breast lift (mastopexy), your implants can be placed through the same incisions.

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5. Can a bra irritate breast augmentation incision lines?

Yes, it can. If your incisions have closed, try wearing an elastic bandage, or wrap foam padding like EpIfoam™ from BioDermis.com around your breasts. You can wear your bra over both.

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6. Does the transumbilical breast augmentation (TUBA) incision reduce risk of staph infections?

Some surgeons have found that the chances of a staph infection are reduced if breast implants are placed through your naval (transumbilically), when compared with incisions on the breast, particularly periareolar (nipple) incisions. This may be because periareolar breast implants are passed through the milk ducts, where staph bacteria are found naturally.

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7. How long does it take for breast implant scars to fade in all the incision placements?

Scar formation varies from person to person. In general, breast implant incisions take 10 to 12 months to heal. The scar will look its worst after about three months. Some people may develop keloids or hypertrophic scars, which take longer to heal and fade. Keloids are raised, reddish nodules that develop at the site of an injury, and are more common among people with dark skin. A hypertrophic scar is a thick cluster of scar tissue. Like keloids, they are often raised and red. They can be hyperpigmented (dark in color) or hypopigmented (light-colored). If you are prone to keloid or hypertrophic scars, discuss using a scar remedy product, such as silicone sheeting, with your surgeon.

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8. Will my surgeon use permanent or dissolvable incisions for my breast augmentation incision lines?

It depends. With standard breast augmentation procedures, sutures are usually nondissolvable and are removed seven to 10 days after surgery. If you are having a breast lift (mastopexy) or areolae reduction, your surgeon may use permanent sutures. Ask your surgeon what type of sutures will be used and why.

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9. What are Steri-Strips™ or surgi-tape?

Steri-Strip™ Skin Closure is a product made by 3M, while surgi-tape is a generic term for medical adhesive tapes. These tapes cover your incisions, and may help with flattening and fading. They can be left in place for long periods of time and are used for a number of surgical procedures.

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10. Can my surgeon use fibrin tissue sealant (tissue glue) on my breast incisions?

Fibrin and other tissue glues are often used for face lift. Some breast surgeons may use them for breast augmentation and breast lift. These products seal off blood vessels to reduce bleeding and hold the skin together without stitches. Ask your surgeon whether or not they use these products for breast augmentation.

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11. How can I tell if I have an infection after my sutures are removed?

If your breast augmentation incision line is reopening, call your surgeon immediately. This can occur because of infection, rejection of the implant, poor circulation or other problems. Signs of infection may include leaking fluid with an unpleasant odor.

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12. How long do I have to wait to use scar remedies on my incision lines?

Wait until the incision line is closed.

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13. Can primary breast augmentation incisions be used for revision breast augmentation?

Yes. There is usually no need for additional breast implant incisions if you are having your breast implants removed or replaced with no breast lift.

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14. Is transumbilical breast augmentation (TUBA) a scarless procedure?

The scar is hidden within the navel. As a result, there is no visible scar with TUBA.

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    Ronald H. Schuster, MD

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    Brian R Buinewicz MD

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    Julio Clavijo-Alvarez, MD

    Re-Nova Plastic Surgery
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