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When you decide to undergo breast augmentation with implants, you have to make several crucial choices about the procedure. One of the most important decisions is regarding implant placement. You can choose to have the implants placed over the chest wall, i.e., subglandular placement. Or you can choose to have the implants placed under the chest wall, i.e., submuscular placement.

Both implant placement options have their unique advantages and disadvantages. As such, you should carefully discuss both options with your surgeon, discuss their pros and cons, and make an informed choice. Your surgeon will guide you through the decision, recommending the ideal placement option for your specific needs and goals. The following is an overview of the two implant placement options.


Subglandular Placement (Over the Muscle)

Subglandular placement means placing the implants over the chest wall, also known as the pectoralis major, and under the glandular tissues. This placement option is easier, shorter, and requires less recovery. That’s because the chest muscle isn’t manipulated during the surgery. As such, the patient can recover fairly soon with minimal postoperative discomfort and pain. Subglandular placement is also better for the implants because there’s no risk of implant distortion due to chest muscle flexion.

However, subglandular placement also has its fair share of drawbacks. To achieve natural results, the implants must have adequate coverage. If the patient doesn’t have sufficient natural breast tissues, the implant might look obvious. Furthermore, the implants will also have a greater likelihood of rippling and wrinkling, with the ripples visible on the skin’s surface, especially if you have saline implants.

Woman wearing black bra with strap slipping

Pros of Subglandular Placement

  • Easier and shorter procedure
  • Smoother recovery
  • Less postoperative discomfort
  • Minimal risk of implant distortion due to chest flexion

Cons of Subglandular Placement

  • Cons of Subglandular Placement
  • Cons of Subglandular Placement
  • Cons of Subglandular Placement

Ideal Candidates for Subglandular Placement

  • Patients with sufficient natural breast tissues
  • Athletes and women who exercise a lot

Submuscular Placement (Under the Muscle)

Submuscular placement means placing the implants under the chest muscles. The chest muscle provides sufficient coverage to the implants to protect them and prevent visibility. This procedure is especially suitable for women with insufficient natural breast tissues, which is usually true for women undergoing breast augmentation. However, this procedure is only suitable for women with sufficiently firm breasts, i.e., when the natural breasts haven’t fallen below the level of the chest muscles.

The procedure for submuscular placement is a lot more complex and involved than for subglandular. That’s because the chest muscles have to be manipulated and adjusted to accommodate the implant. Consequently, the procedure also leads to more postoperative pain and discomfort, and you need a longer recovery period. You also have to account for the small risk of implant distortion caused by chest muscle contractions during exercise.

Pros of Submuscular Placement

  • Looks completely natural
  • The implant has sufficient coverage and protection
  • No risk of visible rippling or wrinkling

Cons of Submuscular Placement

  • Complicated and lengthy procedure
  • Longer recovery period
  • More postoperative pain
  • Risk of implant distortion due to muscle contraction

Ideal Candidates for Submuscular Placement

  • Patients with insufficient natural breast tissues
  • Patients with minimal sagging or breast ptosis

Please schedule a consultation with Dr. Sadrian at Sadrian Plastic Surgery in San Diego. He’s a double board-certified plastic surgeon who believes in providing personalized breast augmentation surgeries that address your specific needs and concerns. He’ll listen to your concerns and examine your breast tissues to recommend the ideal placement option for you.

Harbor in San Diego

Sadrian M.D.

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