Will my Recovery After Breast Implants Be More Rapid Because They're Being Placed Above the Muscle?

Doctor Answers 11

Recovery after breast implants placed under the gland on top of the muscle is usually a week shorter

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Thank you for your question. You are correct that Sub-glandular breast augmentation recovery is shorter than recovery after placing breast implants beneath the chest muscle. After Sub-glandular breast augmentation many patients feel quite well after 3 or 4 days but I recommend waiting a week to return to work, 2 weeks if your work involves lifting.

Recovery can be faster after subglandular breast augmentation

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Overall the healing time is very similar for both, however there is no muscular pain and tenderness and in this respect subglandular augmentation is considered an easier recovery. Most implants are placed under the muscle for better coverage and lower capsular contracture rates, though there are reasons for subglandular implants for some. Be sure you have discussed the issue fully before surgery.

Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Will my Recovery After Breast Implants Be More Rapid Because They're Being Placed Above the Muscle?

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You may experience less pain when compared with a patient with implants placed under the pectoralis muscle, but the healing and recovery time should not be different. Hopefully this is not the main reason for your choice of implant position--the pain difference is for a few days, the implants will be with you for years.

Thanks and best wishes.

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

Quicker Recovery after Sub glandular Breast Augmentation?

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Generally speaking, breast augmentation done with breast implants above the muscle tends to be an operation associated with less discomfort than breast implants placed below ( dual plane) the pectoralis muscle. Make sure you are well informed about the other pros/cons of breast implant  location/placement.

 Best wishes.

Will my Recovery After Breast Implants Be More Rapid Because They're Being Placed Above the Muscle?

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Hello! Thank you for your question! Breast augmentation is a procedure often sought by women to increase size, add upper pole fullness and projection along with improve shape and symmetry of her breasts. Women who have the breast augmentation done report increased self-confidence, self-esteem, and more comfortable with her body. In fact, it has been the most popular procedure in plastic surgery in the US for the past few years. In general, implant size does not correlate with cup size. The cup size itself will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer as well as who is doing the actual measurements. Thus, cup size or implant size is never a reliable indicator for your breast size. I typically encourage my patients not to communicate her desires in cup size but more on the actual look and appearance. Your breast width is the most important measurement.

Things to to consider during your consultation, which your surgeon will discuss with you, include implant type (saline vs silicone), shape/texturing of implant (round vs shaped/textured vs non-textured), implant position (sub pectoral, subglandular, or subfascial), incision (inframammary fold, periareolar, axillary, or TUBA), and size of implant. This can be performed with/out a breast lift, which would serve to obtain symmetry in breast size or nipple position as well as improve shape. Good communication between you and your surgeon of your expectations is warranted - choosing your surgeon wisely is the first step. Discussion of your wishes and having an honest and open dialog of your procedure is mandatory. I have found that photographs brought by the patient is helpful to get a visualization of the appearance you wish for in terms of size, shape, fullness, etc. In addition, your surgeon's pre and postoperative photographs should demonstrate a realistic goal for you. Once this has been accomplished, allow your surgeon to utilize his/her best medical judgment during the procedure to finesse the best possible result for you after preoperative biodimensional planning and fitting the right implant for your breast width. Too large of implants for the woman often destroys the breast pocket and breast shape, thus creating an oft seen uncorrectable problem later. Very slightly less tissue may be visualized with subglandular implants, but not very significant.

Implants may be placed either in the subpectoral (beneath muscle) or subglandular/subfascial (above muscle). Both locations are excellent and you can choose either one - your surgeon will discuss the pros and cons of each. In general, while a placement above the muscle is a more natural position for an implant to augment the actual breast, I find that it is not desirable for very petite women or women with a paucity of breast tissue - as the visibility and potential rippling seen/thinning of tissue may give a suboptimal outcome. A subpectoral pocket adds additional coverage of the implant, but causes slightly more and longer postoperative pain/swelling as well as the potential for animation deformity with flexing of the muscles. Today, there is no virtually no difference in rupture rate, capsular contracture rate (slightly higher with subglandular as well as certain incisions), and infection with the positions. As you see, there are a few factors to decide upon for incision, placement, and implant type/size. Consult with a plastic surgeon who should go over each of the options as well as the risks/benefits.

Hope that this helps! Best wishes for a wonderful result!

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Healing time above or below muscle.

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Healing time is essentially the same for position above and below the muscle. You may have less pain from surgery above the muscle, however.

Recovery with above the muscle implant placement

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Thank you for your question.

Typically, the healing time is the same for both under the muscle
placement implants and for over the muscle. However, the healing
associated with over the muscle placement tends to be less painful and
sore. I would recommend having an in person consultation with a board
certified plastic surgeon to sufficiently discuss the pros and cons of
both placements.

Good luck.

Dr. Sam Speron

Sam Speron, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon

Breast Implant Recovery Time Above or Below Muscle

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The recovery time for breast implants varies only slightly between implants placed above the pectoral muscle and implants placed below the muscle. The biggest determining factor of recovery time is the gentleness of the surgeon during surgery.

Jaime Perez, MD
Breast Implant Specialist
Plastic Surgery Center of Tampa

Jaime Perez, MD
Tampa Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

Less pain after breast augmentation & subfascial breast augmentation

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I have found that the use of the Harmonic scalpel significantly reduces patient discomfort postoperatively, regardless of the plane in which the implant is placed. I am also a big proponent of subfascial breast augmentation for the right patient. It is a technically more difficult operation, but one which, when well done, gives you the best of both worlds.

Andrew Rosenthal, MD
Boynton Beach Plastic Surgeon

Is above muscle implant placement less painful than below? MAYBE NOT!

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Same surgeon, same technique, same attention to precision and detail: perhaps a small amount less pain and muscle spasm above the muscle as compared to below. But the variation among surgeons (blunt vs. sharp dissection, precise hemostasis vs. less fastidious with more bleeding/bruising, and other factors such as use of long-acting anesthetics in the pocket, muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatory medications, or NOT) is much more of a determinant of post-op pain rather than choice of implant position above or below the muscle. You should choose the best surgeon, not a particular implant position!

But as Dr. Johnson has indicated, there is clear-cut scientific basis for less capsular contracture below the muscle as compared to above-muscle implant placement, so you should consider how much "pain" (financial, time off, and actual surgical discomfort) is associated with re-operation for capsular contracture!

You want the most careful and precise surgery in the best implant location for reducing risks, and then use the most thoughtful and comprehensive pain/spasm/inflammation protocol during your recovery. Also, no dancing or clubbing after surgery, even if you feel so good you can! For more information, click on the web reference link below. Best wishes! Dr. Tholen

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 263 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.