Transumbilical Vs Conventional Breast Augmentation

What is the difference between transumbilical Breast augmentation and conventional Breast augmentation?

Doctor Answers (12)

There are many differences

+2

When you use the word " conventional" for an incision site on a breast augmentation, I infer that you believe trans umbilical breast augmentation or TUBA to be " unconventional."

If this is what you mean then I agree with you %100. There are few if any advantages for using the belly button as access to you breasts. Keep in mind that in the US approximately 1% of augmentations are done with the TUBA technique. There are many reasons for this.

  1. The procedure is done essentially blindly with a blunt rod to create a tunnel to the breast and hence a pocket for the implant. This leaves even the most experienced TUBA surgeons with limited control of implant placement and results.
  2. Patients who choose this technique can only have saline implants since one can not stuff a filled silicone implant through the tube that is inserted in the incision.
  3. The saline implant itself is sometimes used to create the pocket once it is filled.This puts undue stress and trauma on the implant and may limit the warranty.
  4. If one has a complication or bleeding then re operation is always done via another more conventional incision around the areola or under the breast crease.
  5. The only theoretical advantage of a TUBA is that one will not have incisions on your breast. One now has a potentially more visible incision on the belly button and compared to an areolar incision which is almost imperceptible in most patients, that advantage is nil.

I hope this helps you make a more educated and sound decision. Your best chance of meeting your expectations is the first time you have surgery so give yourself every advantage and go "conventional."


Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

It's a different incision with definite limitations

+2

Transumbilical augmentation has been popularized by the idea that the scar and incision is placed in the belly button area and therefore "hidden" from the breast area. Only saline implants can be placed with this method as the "track" from the belly button to the breast has to accomodate a small object (the folded implant) that is then expanded. I have seen some very nice results from this technique, but I have seen some disasters.

First, the belly button is not the "cleanest" area on the body to place an incision and also place a sterile implant through. I have seen some very large scars in this area and the possibility of infection is higher.

Second, the creation of a submuscular pocket --the most important part of placing an implant--is not done in an ideal environment, given the distance of the belly button to the breast area. Again, given the distance, the silicone gel implant (with the most natural feel and appearance) cannot be placed through this incision.

Standard incisions (nipple or inframmary--at the breast crease), allow full access to the breast area for pocket creation, whether below or above the muscle. You can have silicone gel implants or saline implants. The scars area well tolerated, and can really be quite hidden. This is my recommended approach for breast augmentation and most board certified plastic surgeons would likely agree this statement.

The other incison, armpit or axillary, is also a possible approach. Saline and gel implants can be placed, but the maximal gel implant that can be safely placed is around 250cc. 250cc is on the smaller end of the normal request for augmentation and so, most of my patients who have inquired about this approach opt out. They usually want 325-400cc.

So remember, certain approaches like the "TUBA" may sound great, but there are limitations when incisions get further and further away from the actual site of surgery.

Charles K. Lee, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

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Difference between Trans-umbilical Breast Augmentation (TUBA) and conventional augmentation

+1

There are four basic incision sites: in the crease under the breast, under the areola, in the armpit, and in the belly button.  There are pros and cons to each of them which you should discuss in detail with your doctor.  I have done over 5000 TUBA procedures, above and below the chest muscle, over the past twenty years.  I consider the following to be the pros and cons of this approach:

Pros:

1. There is only a single small scar hidden under the upper fold of the belly button.  Since many surgeries are done through such an incision, it is not a scar that is likely to be associated with breast augmentation.

2. Implants can be placed above or below the chest muscle.

3. There is little cutting of tissue involved with this surgery.  I don't even hook up a cautery when I use this approach because there is basically no bleeding involved.  Because there is little cutting of tissue, there is less risk to the sensory nerves to the breast and nipple, less risk of bleeding, and faster recovery time.

 

Cons:

1. Only saline implants can be used with this approach.

2. Because the incision site is more remote from the breast, there is a greater chance of asymmetry with this approach.  It is best to use a doctor with a lot of experience with this approach to minimize this risk.

3. Future surgeries may require using a different incision site.

4. Rarely, a "knot" or a "cord" may be felt along the abdominal tunnel.  In my experience, this always goes away with warm compresses and massages.  I have NEVER seen a permanent one.

As with any procedure, it is best to use a doctor with a lot of experience with this technique and who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.  There are many doctors out there who take weekend courses and then proclaim themselves plastic surgeons.  This has been especially true with the TUBA procedure.  Beware!

Edwin C. Pound, III, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Transumbilical vs 'Conventional' Breast Augmentation

+1

After reviewing the answers to this question I thought I would offer an alternative viewpoint. In my practice I have performed breast augmentation through every approach, periareolar, perithelial, inframammary, axillary and transumbilical. The transumbilical approach has virtually eliminated the axillary approach in my practice. It is true that the transumbilical approach has a significant disadvantage in that one cannot place silicone implants using this small incision and revisional surgery may not be possible through the umbilical incision. It's not clear to me how many of the responding physicians have experience with this approach but after performing hundreds of breast augmentations with this technique I can categorically state that the result should be every bit as good as when using a more common breast incision. However, for the surgeon, this approach requires giving up direct visualization of the implant pocket and may create the feeling that the control of pocket creation or blood loss is going to be a problem. I know - I shared those concerns before I actually performed the technique. However, these were concerns that never materialized. To be sure there is a 'learning curve' for the surgeon and this isn't a technique one can teach himself. However it is in my opinion a valuable technique for the woman who does not want an incision on her breast. Instead of talking these patients out of what they want I now am able to satisfy their desires to avoid breast scarring. The worst revisional breast augmentation cases I have ever seen were  surgeries that were performed through 'convention' incisions. I think bad results are possible regardless of the incisional approach. If you are really serious about a transumbilical approach see a doctor who is experienced in this approach and make a decision. Best of Luck  Dr Harrell

 

Jon F. Harrell, DO
Miami Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Transumbilical breast augmentation is fraught with problems

+1

Transumbilical breast augmentation (TUBA) is a form of breast augmentation which places the skin incision in the area of the belly button. Although it seems attractive to use one small incision, the biggest potential problem is placing the implants into the wrong position creating asymmetry, etc. I personally do not use this approach.

A “conventional” breast augmentation places the incisions into one of three locations: the armpit (transaxillary), around the nipple-areola complex, or in the inframammary crease (where the inferior aspect of the breast meets the chest wall).

I would recommend that you see a board certified/eligible plastic surgeon experienced in breast augmentation procedures to discuss your options.

I hope you find this helpful.

Stephen A. Goldstein, MD
Englewood Plastic Surgeon

Breast Implant Placement via Belly Button

+1

Hi there-

Placement of breast implants via an incision around your belly button, in the TUBA technique is, in my opinion, a poorly conceived operation you would be better off avoiding.

To understand why, it's best to get a firm perspective.... I think it would be safe to assume that your interest in breast augmentation is the result of your desire for a breast shape and size that is as beautiful as possible, yes?

The reality is that attempting to place implants through a peripheral location like your belly button causes a significant compromise in the possible outcome of your breast surgery- it's simply not possible to perform delicate maneuvers for the manipulation of breast shape when trying to do so from far away by feel, rather than under direct vision in proximity to the area.

If you were going to do something delicate, wouldn't you want to be able to see what you were doing clearly and be close to what you were doing??

I do a great many breast enhancement procedures a year, but wouldn't do this operation again for anything-

Remember- the goal is to have beautiful breasts, NOT to be able to say you had implants placed through your belly button.

Armando Soto, MD
Orlando Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 97 reviews

Transumbilical vs Conventional Breast Augmentation

+1

I'll state right up front that I think the TUBA, transumbilical breast augmentation, has few to any indications. As the saying goes "it's a long run for a short slide." The TUBA uses an incision in the belly button, a very long tunnel up to the breasts, and only saline implants can be used. My response to people is that who is going to see the areolar or inframammaryincision? What's more who's going to care? Frankly a standard breast augmentation using the inframammary or periareolar approaches takes less than an hour and either implant can be used. There is minimal discomfort.

So stick with what works and not a gimmick surgery.

Christopher L. Hess, MD
Fairfax Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

TUBA vs BAM

+1

I am not a proponent of the TUBA as I have seen at least 10 patients with complications due to uneven placement of the implants with this procedure.

I would generally advise you to avoid the use of this technique. Many of the other excellent physicians around here seem to agree as well. What does that tell you? Why would they not perform the procedure if it had a high satisfaction rate?

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

TUBA vs. conventional implant approaches and TABA

+1

I am not a big fan of the TUBA approach for breast augmentation. FIrst, you can not have silicone gel implants placed that way. Second, it is difficult to dissect the pocket precisely and take care of bleeding. I have performed TABA( transabdominal breast augmentation) for women that want a tummy tuck as well. From this approach you can place silicone gel implants as well as treat bleeding sources. It is not performed with a special introducing device but performed under direct vision.

Steven Wallach, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

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