Is It Better To Get Breast Implants Above Or Below The Muscle?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I am going to get breast implants and have had several consultations. One confusing point for me is whether the implants should be above or below the muscle. Of the two consults I have had one says above the muscle and the other is adamant that they go below the muscle. What do you think?

A: There are is no absolutely best position for breast implants in any particular patient. There are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches. The vast majority of patients today have implants placed beneath the muscle for better pocket stability, a more natural look (upper pole shape), better tissue coverage, a lower rate of rippling and less interference with mammograms. The one downside to under the muscle is that there will be animation deformities, meaning the implants will be pushed to the side unnaturally with pectoralis mucle contraction when the arms are extended.  The one benefit to an implant being above the muscle is when there is some breast tissue sagging, it can fill out the sagging tissues better. The other under the muscle benefit is for someone who was looking for less recovery time and pain and could not avoid adjusting their fitness regimen or someone who has to have the procedure done under local anesthesia for medical and fear of anesthesia reasons.

In the end, one has to weigh these advantages and disadvantages from the perspective of their own breast anatomy and shape. As a general rule, always remember that any implant in the body always does better in the long run (i.e., less complications) when placed under a thicker soft tissue cover particularly when under well-vascularized muscle.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana