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Submuscular vs. Subglandular Breast Implant Placement: Which Is Better?

Posted in Breast Surgery

As a well-respected breast surgeon, Dr. Benjamin Schlechter hears many questions about the various techniques and choices related to breast augmentation. One popular question is about submuscular versus subglandular implant placement. In his expert opinion, Dr. Schlechter believes that submuscular placement is typically better for most patients.

Breast Augmentation Before and After Photos

Submuscular Implant Placement (Recommended)

Submuscular implant placement means that the breast implant is inserted into a pocket behind (under) the pectoral muscle. In contrast, subglandular implant placement means that the implant is placed into a pocket in front of (over) the pectoral muscle but still beneath the breast tissue. Submuscular implant placement requires more tissue dissection, which means the patient will likely have a longer recovery. However, this minor disadvantage is only temporary in how it impacts the patient. The long-term benefits of submuscular implant placement are why Dr. Schlechter prefers this placement for his breast augmentation patients.

The Advantages of Submuscular Implant Placement Over Subglandular Placement

Submuscular implant placement has several noteworthy advantages over subglandular implant placement. One advantage is that it leads to a lower risk of capsular contracture. Dr. Schlechter’s rate of capsular contracture is significantly lower than the national average, and submuscular placement of breast implants is one of the reasons he is so successful in reducing the rate of this post-surgical complication. Additionally, submuscular implant placement offers better coverage of the implants, which means that women with naturally smaller breasts do not need to be unduly concerned about visible rippling or the implants showing through their breasts. More coverage of the implants also buffers the ability to feel the implants within the breasts. Submuscular placement creates a more natural appearance and allows mammograms to better see the back/posterior aspect of the breast. These advantages of submuscular implant placement over subglandular placement are why Dr. Schlechter recommends this technique for the majority of his breast augmentation patients.

Subglandular breast implant placement can have its advantages for patients who are borderline needing a breast lift. An implant placed under the breast tissue will lift the breast more than an implant placed under the muscle possibly avoiding the need for a breast lift. Patients with tubular breast deformities may also benefit from subglandular placement of breast implants.