does split-muscle implant placement give a more natural result?


Doctor Answers 8

Advantages of split muscle breast implant placement

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The split muscle technique for breast implant placement is not really new. I have done more than 500 cases with this technique over the past 7 years, and Dr. Umar Khan in the UK has done a large number as well. It is designed to provide muscle coverage over the upper portion of the breast, where it is most advantageous, while minimizing the risk of what are called "animation deformities" that occur as a result of cutting the muscle as is  done with the traditional under-muscle technique. By cutting the muscle it heals into the scar capsule where it can exert traction when you flex your pectoral muscle. You will see this as a band pulling upward across the lower portion of the breast. With the muscle splitting method, the attachments are left intact so this effect is prevented.

Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

Muscle-Spliting Techniques

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Hi suziesuzie,

I can tell you that this technique works, and it works well, especially if you are a thin patient and require that your breast implant is placed under the muscle. The problem with putting the implant under the muscle in a traditional approach is that the muscle no longer becomes fixed to the chest wall and produces abnormal movement of the breast when the muscle is flexed. This technique eliminates nearly all the abnormal muscle movement.

Alfonso Oliva, MD, FACS
Spokane Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Split muscle implant placement

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Dear suziesuzie,

This is not a technique that I use, although I have seen results using this technique and they have been good.  The problem that I have with it, is that the results that I have seen have been on patients who have a reasonable amount of breast tissue already - the sort of patient that I would do a subglandular placement of the implant. 

In my practice, I use the submuscular placement for people who have little breast tissue.  My worry with the split muscle placement is that, if used on patients with little breast tissue, there may be a ridge half way up the breast where the muscle split has been performed.  I am sure that the procedure is safe, but if you have concerns, it may be worth getting a second opinion.

Submuscular, partial submuscular, dual plane breast augmentations are all the same

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There isn't a "new" way to put implants under the muscle, just many names for the same thing meant to confuse you into thinking your doctor is more modern than someone else.  Actually, I'd avoid going to anybody who tried to scam you like that into thinking they had a new spin on a tried and true operation but was just doing what everybody else already does.

Pick Surgeon not Technique.

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Thank you for the question.

I would suggest that when you do your due diligence and plastic surgeon selection  you choose a surgeon who can show you significant experience achieving the results you are looking for. This method of research,  as opposed to trying to pick the technique that would work best for you,  is most likely to be successful  and  maximize the chances that you will achieve the results you're looking for.

Best wishes.

How to Get The Look You Want

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The easiest reply to this is- It all depends on what you consider a "natural result".  Placement of the implant under the muscle gives additional upper half fullness due to the thickness of the muscle.  A natural breast has tissue over the muscle not under.  Because breast surgery is a personal choice, showing your surgeon a picture of what you would like your breasts to look like will help to give you the look you want.

John W. Bass, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon

"Split-Muscle" Placement Is Not New

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If your surgeon is placing the implant below the pectoral (chest) muscle, he may refer to the technique as "subpectoral," "submuscular," "dual plane," "partial subpectoral" or "partial subpectoral" tachnique.

Because the pectoral muscle is triangular in shape, it does not completely cover the implant.

In cosmetic breast augmentation, these are the techniques most commonly used as compared with a complete muscle coverage technique, which uses an adjacent muscle to cover the part of the implant not covered by the pectoralis. This technique is sometimes used in reconstruction after mastectomy.


Paul C. Zwiebel, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Split muscle breast augmentation

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Every few months someone comes up with a new name for the same operations.  However it is done, the implant is placed in  a full muscle coverage or partial muscle coverage.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 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.