Transumbilical Breast Augmentation (TUBA): FAQs
Considering transumbilical breast augmentation (TUBA) surgery? If so, you probably have lots of questions on the benefits and risks of this "scarless" breast augmentation surgery. Following are answers to some of the most pressing questions about TUBA.
- What is TUBA?
- Is TUBA scarless?
- Can breast implants be placed under the pectoral (chest) muscle with TUBA?
- Are tracks visible after TUBA?
- Can revision breast augmentation be done via TUBA?
- What type of implants can be used during TUBA?
- Does TUBA carry a lower risk of infection?
- What are the benefits of TUBA?
- What are the disadvantages of TUBA?
TUBA is the acronym for transumbilical breast augmentation. During traditional breast augmentation, the surgeon makes incisions in the crease underneath the breast (inframammary incision), around the darker skin surrounding the nipple (periareolar incision), or in the armpit (transaxillary incision). During TUBA, the surgeon makes an incision in the belly button.
If you choose to undergo TUBA, a short J- or C-shaped incision will be made within your navel (belly button) and empty saline breast implants will be moved into place using an endoscope (a long, flexible tube with a lighted camera) for guidance. After the breast implants are placed, they are filled to your desired size with sterile saline.
The TUBA incisions are made within the belly button and are not visible.
Yes. Breast implants can be placed partially underneath the pectoralis major muscle with TUBA.
During TUBA, your surgeon makes the incision in the navel and then, using endoscopic equipment, creates two tunnels (one to each breast) just underneath your skin. The implants are placed, and then filled, through these tunnels. The tissues along the tunnels usually adhere to your body, leaving no visible trace after healing. In rare instances, the tissues do not adhere, and you may be able to see tracks.
The answer to this question depends on the reason you require revision breast augmentation. If you are having your implants replaced because they ruptured, the new incision will be made in the same place as your original incision. The breast implant will then be removed and replaced.
Saline-filled implants are the only type of implants that can be placed via TUBA. Saline implants are filled after they are implanted, so they can be inserted through the tiny TUBA incisions. By contrast, silicone gel implants are prefilled and must be implanted via larger incisions.
Yes. Any surgery does carry a risk of infection, but with TUBA, this risk is lower than with the other breast augmentation incision patterns. With TUBA, the incision is not near the breast tissue and the breast implant is not passed through any areas in the breast where staph bacteria naturally live.
Some of the advantages of the TUBA procedure include a virtually undetectable scar, lower risk of infection, a shorter surgery, and a quicker recovery than with other breast augmentation incision patterns. In addition, there are no incisions on or around the breast so there is no risk of losing sensation in this area from nerve damage.
TUBA can only be done using saline-filled implants. Some women may prefer the natural feel of silicone gel implants to the water-balloon-like feel of saline implants. Also, the TUBA incision is created far from the actual implant destination, so there is a greater margin for error. The best way to protect yourself is to choose a board-certified plastic surgeon who has a lot of experience performing TUBA. Ask to view before and after pictures of other women who have had TUBA at the same plastic surgery practice.