Breast Implants Inserted by Belly Button

I saw that a doctor on realself says belly button insertion of breast implants is a bad idea. Do other doctors agree with this conclusion? Are there times when it makes sense to go this route?

Doctor Answers 20

Transumbilical Breast Augmentation (TUBA) - a great procedure in the right patient

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In the carefully selected patient the transumbilical breast augmentation (TUBA) is an excellent option to augment the breast under the muscle with virtually no visible scar.  It is an especially good choice in patients who are thin, who have minimal sagging and asymmetry, and who request saline implants (many still do inspite of the availabilty of silicone).  Poor candidates:  thicker tissued/more corpulant patients; patients with chest wall issues and severe flaring at the rib cage margin; patients who want silicone implants.  

The recovery is quicker than other approaches and the complication rates are comparable.  I have had no infections or hematomas and only a few issues with asymmetry that have resolved with time and massage.  Although I inform patients before the procedure that secondary surgery may require an alternate approach and additional scars, to date I have not had to revise a procedure. There is less pain than with transaxillary approache (armpit) and a much lower chance of temporary arm numbness that can sometimes occur with the armpit approach. In my opinion, it is the procedure of choice in the patient who has a poorly defined crease or a very short distance from the nipple to the crease.  Crease incisions in these patients, tend to cause a very visible scar.  We offer all approaches (TUBA, crease, areola, TABA, and armpit) and tailor the procedure to the wishes of the patient and her anatomy.

So why don't more plastic surgeons offer the procedure?  In general, surgeons, especially plastic surgeons, are habitual creatures who are reluctant to go beyond their comfort level and technical expertise when it could compromise outcomes and create results that are unpredictable - especially with a procedure that has the steep learning curve that TUBA has.  It is easier to use the approach or incision and get the result that one is used to getting, even if it means using the same operation on every patient no matter what the anatomy or the desires of the one being operated upon.  Just because a small percentage of surgeons use the approach doesn't make it a "fringe" /highly unpredictable procedure.  At one time very few surgeons did endoscopic brow lifts or laparoscopic gall bladders.  Now they are the standard of care.

Finally, to dispel a few other myths - it does not void the warranty of the implant (I used to believe it did, as well, so I checked with the company) and one can still have an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) later if so desired.

TUBA- A solution in search of a problem (where none exists)

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This is not a new, and my opinion, a good idea.


1. Insertion site is too far from operative site, therefore can't be precise.  Precision is key to great outcome.

2. V deformity from navel pointing towards breasts like a neon light- I have seen it- not pretty, and can't correct.

3. remote navel scar vs. two small scars on breast that heal nicely

4. revisions will require brest incision anyway

5. can't do silicone implants

6. I personally don't know a single board certified plastic surgeon who does this

Enough said, I hope.  May this "technique"/marketing ploy finally, RIP

Breast augmentation through the belly button is a stupid idea whose time should never have come.

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Breast augmentation is not an easy operation.  It requires thoughtful consideration of the the patients requirements, an understanding of her tissue limitations, and an appreciation of the behaviour of implants in tissues over time.

 To blissfully blow up a balloon and hope that it rips the tissues at just the right location and just the right amount,  and at the same time hope that the device is not damaged in the process is quite simply, just plain stupid.  Furthermore, none of the implant manufacturers will warrant their devices if used this way (I am not aware of any of them changing their policy in this regard, but in the spirit of blunt honestly,  I have not looked in the last 10 years.)  There are perhaps a few reputable surgeons who are still doing this, but remember also that there are still people who believe in eye of newt, mustard poltice,  and cauldrons that boil and bubble... 

Claudio DeLorenzi, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon

TUBA breast augmentations

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I personally think it is a bad idea and wouln't even want to try one.  The problem is that you can only do saline through the umbi, there is no control of bleeding, and the exact dissection of the pocket to perfect size and symmetry is not possible from so far away compared to the closer incisions.  This, plus the fact that no revisions can be done through the TUBA make it nonsense to me.

Breast Augmentation Thru Belly Button

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This might seem like a great approach if you are looking for no visible scarring, but there are disadvantages. For example: You are restricted to saline implants, and sometimes exact implant adjustment and placement is difficult.

Anthony Dardano, DO
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon

Breast augmentation

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I suppose that the trans umbilical approach has it's advantage, but also it's disadvantages as well.    One has to weight them and see if it is better for them.  I personally don't see the advantages.

Tuba breast augmentation is a good choice if performed by the right surgeon in the right patient

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I am a board certified plastic surgeon practicing in Birmingham Alabama. I am also a member of both The American Society of Plastic Surgeons, and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.  I perform over 1500 breast augmentations per year and have performed around 2000 trans umbilical (TUBA). It is sad that when you hear doctors stating that TUBA is a bad approach, if you were to ask most answering the question you would find they have never performed the procedure and are making assumptions about a approach they have never performed. I was just as guilty until I forced myself to learn the procedure. I believe if the plastic surgeon performs a large number of breast augmentations he should be versatile with all of the approaches. I have never seen a difference in the rate of implant malposition, capsular contracture, compared to more traditional routes, I have not seen any hematomas or loss of sensation with this approach and have witnessed a faster recovery. Implant manufacturers do warrantee implants placed trans-umbilical.  The surgery is very difficult for many plastic surgeons to learn and most doctors have complications when they first start out trying to perfect the surgery. It is possible to exchange implants though this approach as well as fix a ruptured implant through this approach but the procedure is not for everyone. I would just make sure you go to someone who has performed several hundred by this approach if you are choosing this incision. You can see some before and afters of this approach at the following link.

TUBA is a failed concept for breast augmentation

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We can achieve wonderful, predictable and reproducible results with the breast-based augmentation approaches that we currently have. There is simply no compelling advantage to TUBA, and a host of disadvantages. This likely explains why few surgeons do the TUBA procedure. 

Augmentation through belly button

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I do not perfrom the procedure for many of the reasons the other prior surgoens have stated, but if you so desire to perform it this way, please make sure you seek a surgeon who routinely performs the procedure this way, because there any many technical nuisances.

Breast Implants Inserted by Belly Button or the TUBA technique

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All 9 previous posters are not in favor of the TUBA or TransUmbilical Breast Augmentation. I also concur. So from the tone of your question you want to hear that it is an acceptable option. It is NEVER an acceptable option. So for you better understand and comprehend this issue, if the TUBA techniques was SOOOOO great, why do less than 1% of all the board certified Plastics Surgeon offer it? Think in those terms, I guess 99% of us are uninformed. Keep re reading these posts the reasons are here. 

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.