How Safe Are Breast Implants Inserted Through the Belly Button?

Compared to the traditional surgical approach, what are the benefits and the possible adverse effects of implants through the belly button?

Doctor Answers (18)

TUBA - Belly Button Breast Augmentation

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The TUBA technique of placing a saline implant through the belly button incision is both safe and my most popular procedure for placing saline implants. The advantages are no scars on the breast, only one small incision, and in my experience a faster recovery and less bruising. In the more than a decade that I have been performing this procedure I have not seen more complications than other techniques.


Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Transumbilical bresat augmentation

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TUBA or transumbilical breast augmentation were very popular with saline implants because the implants can be filled in the pocket.  You can;t do that with silicone implants. I was never a big fan, because pocket dissection is done blindly and bluntly and if you got bleeding you had to convert to a more traditional approach.

Steven Wallach, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Transumbilical breast augmentation

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I would add to the consensus of answers only that after many years of experience, the best incision approach for breast augmentation (most advantages, least disadvantages short term and long term) has been the inframammary crease incision. For saline-filled implants (the only ones feasible with TUBA), this incision can be 2 cm, the same as that used in the periumbilical or other laparoscopic procedures. Incisions for current silicone-gel filled incisions need to be 3 1/2 to 4 cm. 

Scott L. Replogle, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

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Breast Implants through the Belly Button

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Disadvantages:  voids implant warranty, limits choice to saline, may produce inframammary fold asymmetry 

Steve Byrd, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

How Safe Are Breast Implants Inserted Thru the Belly Button?Answer:

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I would pass on this technique and I am a surgeon who feels very comfortable going thru the underarm and using the endoscope! Too many negatives and not enough positives. I'm not sure that it invalidates the warranty any longer., although I know it used to. And it's even a worse idea when done blindly without the endoscope. I have seen too many "one above and one below" results! Too many advantages with other methods..

John J. Corey, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Transumbilical augmentation (TUBA) a bad idea

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I concur with the other physicians that answered this question.  In addition, I have recently seen a patient in consultation that developed swelling of the abdominal wall between the two tunnels that were used to insert  her implants.  I would not recommend this operation.  The implants are safe and are the standard saline implants used by the majority of plastic surgeons.

Gary H. Manchester, MD (retired)
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Breast augmentation through the belly button

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The TUBA (transumbilical breast augmentation) is offered by only a handful of reputable plastic surgeons. It is a markeing gimmick and for many reasons not a sound surgical operation. The surgeon is limited to using saline implants and no revisional operations can be done through the navel.The surgeon cannot handle bleeding complications and it is more difficult to control the inframammary fold. I would not recommend this operation to any of my freinds or family members!

Ann F. Reilley, MD
Baton Rouge Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

How Safe Are Breast Implants Inserted Through the Belly Button?

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Bad idea and a bad operation. Just read all the expert's postings to see the majority are against this operation. In fact the implant companies would not offer the warranty initially. 

Darryl J. Blinski, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 61 reviews

TUBA Advantages and Disadvantages

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The main advantage of TUBA is no scars on the breast.

The disadvantages are:

Can only use saline implants

Less control over implant position

Inability to identify and control any bleeding

Karol A. Gutowski, MD, FACS
Ohio Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

What do you mean by safe?

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The TUBA is not accepted by the body of the plastic surgeons because of it's short comings as noted by other surgeons. TUBA is a good marketing tool but the surgeon has minimal control on the implant position,breast shape or infra mammary fold position.

Kamran Khoobehi, MD
New Orleans Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 54 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.