Do over the muscle placed implants feel natural? (photos)

Hi, I have little breast tissue and wondering if over the muscle implants feel natural when compared to under?

Doctor Answers 9

Breast implant feel

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Hello and thank you for the question and the photo. No implant feels 100% natural. However, for the majority of patients, the under the muscle implant is more natural in feel. The trade off is more pain, longer recovery, and sometimes the under muscle implant "jumps" when you flex the muscle. This can also happen with over the muscle implants, but is less common. 
Over the muscle implants do not feel as natural and there is a higher risk of capsular contracture 

You should have several consultations with board certified plastic surgeons in your area before making any final decisions. As always, it's best to be healthy, no smoking, and make sure any health conditions you have are managed by your primary care doctor. Best to you. 

Rockville Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Options for Over the Muscle Implants

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Silicone implants are the preferred choice for over the muscle implant placement. However, there are different options available for over, under and dual placement of the implants depending on what is best for the individual patient:

Under the Muscle (sub-muscular) – When you hear the words “under the muscle” this actually means the breast implant is placed partially under the pectorals major muscle. Submuscular placement may be more uncomfortable the first few days following surgery due to the disruption of the muscle.  The possible benefits of submuscular placement are that it may result in less palpable implants, decreased risk of capsular contracture, and easier to image the breast with a mammogram. Under the muscle placement is recommend for women are are very thin with very little breast tissue. The partial muscle coverage will hide the implant better and help avoid visibility of any implant imperfections such as rippling. The appearance will also look more natural.

Over the Muscle (sub-glandular) –  Over the muscle means above the muscle and under the breast tissue. This placement may make your surgery and recovery shorter and you will likely have less discomfort. This placement can provide a slight “lift.” Sub-glandular placement can result in more palpable implants, increased risk of capsular contracture and more difficult imaging of the breast with mammogram. This placement is often recommended for those patients with mild breast sag, but do not want a breast lift (mastopexy) and for tubular breast deformity.

Dual-Plane - This placement method is a more current technique most often used when there is mild breast sag and the patient does not want a breast lift. The breast tissue and muscle are partially separated to allow the breast tissue to sit in a better position. Dual-plane can be discussed further during the consultation should breast sag be of concern.

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

Breast Implants : In Front or Behind The Muscle?

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Thank you for your question. I typically perform breast augmentation surgeries with the implants behind the muscle. Over the muscle does give a natural effect as well but there is a change you may see the edges or rippling of the implants (depending what type are put in) Be sure to consult in person with a board certified plastic surgeon. You are always welcome in Montreal. Regards,

Do over the muscle implants feel natural?

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Thank you for your question.  Yes, an implant in front of the pectoralis muscle can look and feel natural, however, you can be at risk of the edge(s) of the implant showing which has a rippling appearance. Also, there is less chance of capsular contracture with the implant behind the muscle.  I usually reserve over the muscle augmentations for my female body builders who have very little to no fat and the fact that if it was behind their pec muscle, it would be obvious when flexing. Meet with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon for a consult to see what he or she recommends for you. 

Chad Robbins, MD
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 56 reviews


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Gel implants placed over the muscle, but behind the breast, do feel natural in most women. Saline implants would do better being behind the muscle. Behind the muscle would also give a more smooth upper contour and less risk of the implant edge showing. During your consultation, your surgeon can help guide you to the best placement.

Connie Hiers, MD
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Natural feel with over the muscle BBA

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Thank you for your question.

I would first like you to know that the decision to go behind the muscle or over the muscle has to do with the amount of soft tissue coverage – “padding” you have under the skin. Choosing a pocket that is tight with sufficient soft tissue coverage not only prevents implant visibility, palpability, and risks of excessive stretching on the breast, but also excessive implant movement into the outer or inner sides of the breasts. A hand-in-glove fit for the implant allows for a natural and long-lasting result. Your surgeon will do a pinch test in the upper pole of the breast to see how much “padding” you have. If you have less than 2 cm, then you do not have much padding and it would be best to go under the muscle. Generally speaking, if your ribs are visible under the muscle, then you do not have much “padding.” If however, you have more than 2 cm of tissue, then you have the option to go over the muscle or under the muscle.

Which pocket do you prefer?


If you are hoping to fully preserve the functionality of the pectoralis major muscle due to athletics or body building, or if you have a shapeless, constricted, tuberous, sagging breasts without cleavage, then over the muscle may be a better option.

  • Over the muscle implant placement causes less trauma to the chest muscles, and the implants will not be subjected to any pressure or injury due to muscle movement.
  • The implant can directly apply pressure on breast tissue to shape the breasts.
  • However, over the muscle implant placement may have higher risks of breast tissue wasting, interference with mammography, and capsular contracture compared to under the muscle placement.
  • Higher risk of implant visibility and palpability is possible if you are thin, and this can be fixed used fat grafting where areas with less tissue coverage are filled with your own fat to provide better contour and coverage.


Under the muscle (partially submuscular) is a preferred option for many surgeons because the muscle helps to maintain a slope for the upper pole while allowing for a curvature in the lower pole, while over the muscle will mostly make your breasts appear round and augmented.

  • In thin patients, additional coverage by the muscle reduces the risk of implant visibility in the upper and inner sides of the breasts. It also reduces risk of synmastia, and provides less interference with mammography and breast imaging. It also brings lower rates of capsular contracture.
  • However, under the muscle implant placement may allow the chest muscles to put pressure on the implant distorting the breast shape and position in the long-term. You may experience more pain following surgery due to the dissection of some muscle attachments and you may lose strength while flexing your chest muscle and is not suitable for athletes and body builders.

So which pocket allows a more natural feel?

It truly depends on the amount of soft-tissue coverage, the size of the implant, and the fill of the implant. If there is sufficient soft-tissue coverage and the implant is adequately sized, then there will be no implant palpability and visibility. Additionally, silicone breast implants will provide a more natural feel compared to saline implants.

It is important that you communicate your goals very clearly, but understand that you need to have realistic expectations.

Hope this helps, and best of luck!

Martin Jugenburg, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 520 reviews

Do over the muscle implants feel natural

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Thank you for you question and photo. Over the muscle placement of the implant can and does produce a natural result. The preferred placement is under the muscle, however. Placement under the muscle reduces the rate of capsular contracture, implant visibility and rippling. I typically reserve over the muscle placement for women who have loose skin to fill up and wish to avoid a breast lift procedure. I caution them, however, that the weight of the implants' effect on the breast will likely the need for a lift procedure down the road. In your case, with little ptosis or droop, and youthful appearing breasts, a standard sub muscular or dual plane technique would give you the natural looking results that you seek, and reduce the risks for complications.

Best wishes,

You may be a good candidate for submuscular implants.

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Hello, and thanks for your question. While submusclar and subglandular implants (which are placed over the chest muscle) can each offer natural-looking and feeling results, implants that are placed under the chest muscle (submuscular) can be a good option for petite women with little natural breast tissue. This placement can help to camouflage the implant, which may create a very natural result. That said, however, the best placement for you will depend on your personal preferences and lifestyle as well. For example, very active women may benefit from subglandular implants, as these do not affect the muscle tissue at all. I would suggest sitting down with a board-certified plastic surgeon to discuss your options and assess your individual situation to help you determine the best placement for you. Good luck!

Feel of implants

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no implant will feel 100 % natural so it is important for your doctor to examine you and advise you which method will give your the best result the bigger you decide to go with the implant the less natural 

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.