Incision Appearance After TUBA Implants?

I am going to have a transumbilical breast implant procedure done soon and I really want to know what my belly button will look like in weeks after surgery. I am getting small implants (200cc) and want to keep this very private. If I wear a swim suit this summer will people notice a line in my belly button? Surgery is scheduled for end of April.

Doctor Answers 10

Scarring with TUBA Breast Augmentation

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Hi there-

I no longer perform this procedure because the outcomes were quite simply never as nice as we could reliably achieve through other techniques... I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but would bet that you are unhappy with the outcome after a short time and definitely believe your chances of needing a revision are higher with this technique.

Having said that, your scar will be tiny and inconspicuous.

What I always ask my patients, however, is- If after surgery your breasts are ugly or funny looking, but you have a tiny scar in your belly button, will you be happy?

The TUBA breast augmentation incision can result in a long and visible scar tunnel

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I am not a fan of the TUBA procedure, for many of the same reasons described by most Plastic Surgeons: poor visibility of the breast pocket, the necessity of a saline implant, voiding the implant warrantee, a one-time only incision, distortion of all the layers of normal anatomy between the umbilicus and the breast, and often unreliable results.

In addition, I have seen a number of patients in my office with a visible and palpable (you can feel it with your fingers) scar tunnel from the belly button to the breast, on both sides of the body.

This scar band/tunnel is permanent! There is no way to get rid of it, and it can cause symptoms such as pain and deformity.

I advise patients AGAINST this option, and counsel women to think carefully when selecting their incision used to put an implant INSIDE the body.

The ideal incision for a breast augmentation has the following features:

  1. Ease of implant insertion
  2. Excellent visibilty of the breast pocket
  3. Scar should lie within a natural "relaxed skin tension line"
  4. Incision can be used again for future procedures, such as implant exchange, breast lift (mastopexy) or implant removal
  5. Hidden in most clothing, including undergarments and string bikinis

For these reasons, I usually perform the inframammary fold incision for all my patients. Contact me directly for more information!

Karen M. Horton, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon

Information about the TUBA procedure

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The scar from this procedure usually heals well, but you should really make sure you are educated about the negative aspects of this procedure.  There is a lot of "marketing" misinformation out there.

The scar after TUBA breast augmentation is not hidden

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The TUBA augmentation procedure uses the belly button as an entry point to tunnel an implant into a subglandular position under the breast. It seemed to work well for some though surgeons seldom use this approach today because of difficulty in controlling the position of the implant. It can be particularly difficult to place the implant under the muscle, a position favored by most, and place a silicone gel implant as well. Also keep in mind that the belly button scar is not hidden in a bathing suit and the 'line' will certainly be visible. Just ask tummy tuck patients which scar they consider 'visible'. The belly button scar can improve though it does take patience and time. There are so many better ways to complete breast augmentation and keep scars out of view.

Best of luck,


TUBA and visibility of incision

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This is not a popular procedure among plastic surgeons due to the difficulty in visualization and accuracy of placement. That having been said, the belly button is a a scar itself. So it is an excellent location to conceal an incision.

Incision appearance after TUBA implants

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Usually not very noticeable inside the umbilicus. The real issue if you will get an acceptable result. Most boarded plastic surgeon shy away from this technique due to the unpredicatablilty of results.


Belly Button Appearance after Belly Button Breast Augmentation (TUBA)

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The Transumbilical Breast Augmentation incision is from the 12 to the 6 o'clock position INSIDE the belly button. In the vast majority of cases it heals extremely well and does not call attention to itself.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

We don't do TUBA breast implants.

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Some good surgeons do this operation, but they are a small minority. Putting in breast implants through the belly button invalidates the manufacturers' guarantee, because of the risk of damaging the implants.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

Ask your doctor

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I assume that you are paying for the surgery, thus it is incumbent on your surgeon to answer all of your questions. Why put this out on the net when none of us are doing your surgery - only you and your surgeon know how the scar will look.

TUBA incision

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The incision for a transumbilical breast augmentation is place in the crease of the umbilicus. This is usually barely perceptible. It should be OK for the beach.

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.