Girl, did you know, there are two main breast implant placements?
Under or over the chest muscle.
The decision of which (under or over the chest muscle) breast implant placement option is best for you is made during your consultation with a Board Certified plastic surgeon.
How to determine which implant placement option (over or under the chest muscle) will be best for you will depend on your pre-surgery breast anatomy, lifestyle, and your personal augmentation goals.
Changing implant placement
Did you know that if you choose to exchange your breast implants (this is switching your implants for a different shape/size/type) you can also change your breast implant placement?
When breast implants are exchanged they can either be placed back in the same position they were or they can be placed in a new place (under to over, or over to under the muscle).
Who would be a good candidate to switch from unders to overs?
It’s not that common to change implant placement. If you’re just switching out your breast implants to go bigger you’re unlikely to also switch the implant placement, for example.
The times when you might think about switching a breast implant from under to over the chest muscle would include:
If your breasts with implants in the unders position have drooped - moving a breast implant in this situation to over the muscle can create a little lift to correct mildly dropping breasts
If your lifestyle changes - implants under the chest muscle can limit your ability to do chest exercises like before breast implants and cause something called ‘flex distortion’ (when the implants move within the chest muscle). If you had implants under the muscle and modified your lifestyle to a more active one (and were uncomfortable with flex distortion, for example) you may choose to switch your breast implants to an over the muscle placement.
Your natural breast tissue increased in size - as we age our breasts can grow a little bit! If the reason you chose to have implants under the muscle was to ensure enough tissue covering the implant (to hide visible implant shell wrinkling) then a growth in your own natural breast tissue could mean (if you were choosing to switch implants) that you now have the option of changing to implants in an over the muscle position as you have enough natural breast tissue to cover the implants.
You want to change from a natural to a fake look - implants under the muscle tend to give a more natural result than implants placed over the muscle (although this is not a hard and fast rule as it also depends on other things, like the size of the implants used!). If you opted for a natural-looking breast augmentation (with implants under the muscle) and then wanted to change your augmentation goal to a more ‘fake’ (or augmented) look, one way to do this would be to switch implant position to over the muscle.
A new look
If you do switch breast implant placement position from under to over the muscle you would find your breast aesthetics would also likely change. It’s possible your results are more ‘obvious’ and you may also notice implant shell wrinkling called rippling.
You might also find that recovery following an implant exchange with a switch from implant placement from under to over is less painful and you have a much quicker recovery!
The process of changing placement
If you opt to switch your breast implants and have you implants moved from the under to over placement your Board Certified plastic surgeon will discuss with your whether your procedure is best performed under general or local anesthesia.
During your procedure your surgeon will make an incision and remove your existing breast implants from under the chest muscle. They will then place a sizer in the over the muscle position to determine the right size implant for your exchange. The surgeon then places the implants and closes the incision with sutures and applies surgical dressings.
Then you have the usual recovery period and follow-ups with your surgeon to assess your progress and results.
It’s really important to work with your Board Certified plastic surgeon to identify if switching breast implant placement is something to consider if you’re exchanging your breast implants. When you’re clear about your augmentation goals and work collaboratively with your surgeon you will be able to select the right breast implants and surgical options to get you to your goals!