Q: Transumbilical vs Conventional Breast Augmentation?

What is the difference between transumbilical Breast augmentation and conventional Breast augmentation?

A: It’s a different incision with definite limitations
Transumbilical augmentation has been popularized by the idea that the scar and incision is placed in the belly button area and therefore “hidden” from the breast area. Only saline implants can be placed with this method as the “track” from the belly button to the breast has to accommodate a small object (the folded implant) that is then expanded. I have seen some very nice results from this technique, but I have seen some disasters.

First, the belly button is not the “cleanest” area on the body to place an incision and also place a sterile implant through. I have seen some very large scars in this area and the possibility of infection is higher.

Second, the creation of a submuscular pocket –the most important part of placing an implant–is not done in an ideal environment, given the distance of the belly button to the breast area. Again, given the distance, the silicone gel implant (with the most natural feel and appearance) cannot be placed through this incision.

Standard incisions (nipple or inframmary–at the breast crease), allow full access to the breast area for pocket creation, whether below or above the muscle. You can have silicone gel implants or saline implants. The scars are well tolerated, and can really be quite hidden. This is my recommended approach for breast augmentation and most board-certified plastic surgeons would likely agree with this statement.

The other incision, armpit or axillary, is also a possible approach. Saline and gel implants can be placed, but the maximal gel implant that can be safely placed is around 250cc. 250cc is on the smaller end of the normal request for augmentation and so, most of my patients who have inquired about this approach opt-out. They usually want 325-400cc.

So remember, certain approaches like the “TUBA” may sound great, but there are limitations when incisions get further and further away from the actual site of surgery.