Can I Get Breast Implants Exchanged Through the Axilla?

Hi , I had saline implants placed thru the axilla, and want to exchange them for silicone, my doctor says the exchange can be done thru the axilla. Is this true , if so what are the risks??

Doctor Answers 6

Axillary Incision is Very Limiting

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Why do you need the revision?  Have you developed scar tissue?  Is your implant out of position?  Or do you merely want to exchange for silicone?

If, as your question suggests, your only issue is that you want silicone then the exchange from the armpit is easy.

But if anything else at all needs to be done, the possibility of using the armpit for a great result is entirely a combination of the extent of your problem and the skill of the surgeon.

Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Breast Implant Exchange through Axilla?

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Yes, it is possible to exchange breast implants through axillary incisions.

If your surgeon has significant experience with this approach then it is likely that you will be just fine.  I personally prefer other approaches that I think if more direct exposure to any implant pocket adjustment that needs to be made at the same time.

Best wishes.

Can I Get Breast Implants Exchanged Through the Axilla?

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Dear vanevane,

Saline breast implants can be exchanged through the axilla for silicone breast implants in some circumstances.

Generally speaking, these circumstances include situations in which a simple exchange is all that is necessary, no significant capsule manipulation or breast tissue reshaping is needed, and the implants are on the smaller side.

If significant capsule or breast tissue manipulation is needed, or the implants are larger, then another approach is typically needed.

I perform breast augmentation using the transaxillary approach on a regular basis, although I do not believe it is suitable for everyone. I would like to emphasize the importance of using the endoscope during the procedure to ensure precise implant placement and control of bleeding.

Warmest wishes,

Larry Fan, MD


Larry Fan, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon

Can I Get Breast Implants Exchanged Thru the Axilla? Answer:

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I use the underarm approach almost exclusively and have for the last 12 years or so and I use the endoscope as well. I can change implants out silicone or saline, add fluid to saline implants, perform capsulotomy and lower an implant. I use the Keller and the largest I have placed is 600cc. I have found the scar very acceptable if kept high and in a crease!


John J. Corey, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Silicone implants can be placed through the armpit

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Silicone implants can be squeezed through devices like the Keller funnel or similar to make it through the armpit with minimal trauma.  Smaller implants (less than 350cc) work best, since the size of the incision in the armpit is proportional to the size of the implant.

  1. Larger size implants require a larger incision and a large armpit scar is not usually attractive
  2. Only implant replacement and minimal capsule work can be done through the armpit.
  3. If extensive shape correction or capsulorraphy is necessary, the armpit is not a good option for implant replacement.


Mario Diana, MD
Plano Plastic Surgeon

There should be no problem replacing your saline implants with gel through the Axilla

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Removing your saline implants from your breast through your arm pit (axilla) should be relatively easy. If you are replacing them with the same sized gel and the there is no problem with the pocket, then there should be no problem with replacing them through the axilla. It will require a slightly larger scar and I would definately recommend that your surgeon use a Keller Funnel. This allows your surgeon to place the implant with much more ease and a much better minimal touch technique. 

Carl W. "Rick" Lentz III, MD
Orlando Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 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.