For our breast augmentation patients from Albany, Syracuse, NY, and elsewhere around the Capital District, questions about incisions are very common. Women want to know what placement option is right for them and how to care for their incisions so they heal quickly. We try to counsel each patient by providing all the options, explaining the advantages and disadvantages of each, and making a recommendation that will match her unique anatomy and aesthetic goals.
Although every patient’s situation is different, there is some common information that’s helpful to understand. Here’s our simple user guide to incision placement and care.
Choosing the Placement
Our surgeons regularly perform breast augmentation using 3 different incisions:
- Transaxillary: This incision originates in the natural crease of the armpit. Patients who choose this location are generally the most concerned about scarring, as there is no incision made on the breast. Because it’s located away from the breast, a transaxillary incision gives the surgeon a more limited ability to place the implant.
- Inframammary: By far the most common choice, the inframammary incision is
made horizontally along the natural crease beneath the breast, where it meets your chest. Patients tend to prefer this option (as do I) because it minimizes the appearance of any scar and gives us as surgeons more latitude in our ability to place the implant. In this sense, it is an “easier” operation, and the new breast often falls over the crease, hiding the incision. However, for women with certain breast shapes, the scar can be more visible.
- Periareolar: This incision is made around the areola, which is the darker skin that surrounds the nipple. For patients of many different skin tones, the scar is camouflaged nicely, and the location gives our surgeons a direct view of the pocket we create for your new implant. However, periareolar incisions do carry a higher risk for infection and often affect the patient’s nipple sensation. A patient’s ability to breastfeed can also be affected.
Caring for Your Incisions
Regardless of placement, your incisions require some special attention after surgery. You will be on pain medication and will likely have gauze dressing around the area when you are sent home. Generally speaking, it’s important to wear loose-fitting clothing, and garments that do not need to be pulled over the head are ideal.
After the first week, your surgeon removes the gauze dressing and may replace it with a surgical bra. Once 2 weeks have passed (or once the incision area has healed), you can begin gently massaging the incision location with scar gel or lotion. This will promote more elasticity in your scar as it spurs the collagen to become more flexible. We provide ScarMedica recovery gel through our medical spa, and it helps patients achieve better scar results. To see the scar results some of our patients have achieved, visit our photo gallery.
Keep in mind that your scar will continue to mature for nearly a year after surgery. It’s important to be patient and mindful of this during your recovery.
Do you have questions about incisions or other aspects of breast augmentation? Leave them in a comment below, and a member of our Albany team will respond.