Internal suturing for pocket adjustment

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One of the most common complications after breast augmentation surgery is implant mal-position. This occurs when the implant is in an incorrect position on the chest wall. This may include incorrect position of the implant superiorly (“riding high”), inferiorly (“bottoming out”), medially (“symmastia or uni-boob”) or laterally (falling outward into the axilla).

Symmastia (or medial malposition or “uni-boob”) occurs when the breast implants move too far toward the midline--the two implants may actually touch one another in the center of the chest. If the horizontal muscle that is connected to the sternum and goes across the implant is cut during surgery, then the implant can move toward the middle of the chest.

Symmastia may result from overly aggressive attempts to alter chest wall anatomy trying to increase cleavage for patients. This outcome is made worse by use of larger implants in thin patients, and is a problem for implants over or under the muscle, though sub muscular implant placement allows the muscle to provide some softening of the transition to the cleavage area from the augmented breast mound. Correction involves use of internal sutures of the capsule around the breast implants. Often, it is necessary to expand the breast implant pocket laterally (outwardly) to allow for correct placement of the implants.

Bottoming out involves inferior migration of the implants. This causes the nipple areola complex to appear too high on the breasts. Also, the distance from the areola to the inframammary fold is too great. This is corrected by “raising” the inframammary fold using internal sutures. This is done after careful measurements are made from the areola to the “new” inframammary fold.

Some patients present to our office with a desire to increase the fullness of the inferior pole of the breasts. The distance from the areola to the “new inframammary fold” is increased using gentle dissection. Use of an implant can help increase the fullness of the lower poles of the breasts. This is done routinely for patients with constricted or tuberous breasts.

Tuberous Breasts have a very narrow base and usually a long skin envelope. Sometimes people refer to "Tuberous Breast" shape as the shape similar to "snoopy's nose". In the most severe cases of Tuberous Breast, a breast lift can be done through an incision around the areola, making the breast into a more rounded shape that the patient will be happy with. In many cases however, a lift is not necessary. The patient should be aware that the final result will take months to see and that they will need to be patient.

Some post operative breast augmentation patients present with lateral (outwardly) displacement of the breast implants. This can be corrected using an internal suture technique decreasing the size of the pockets and moving the implants toward the midline.

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San Diego Plastic Surgeon