Q: I am interested in getting a deltoid implant but am having a hard time finding out much about it. I know it is not commonly done but have read that it is done. I would like to get my one shoulder to look more like the other rather than deformed and asymmetric. What can you tell me about this type of implant?
A: The deltoid muscle is a bulky triangular muscle that covers the shoulder joint and contributes to movement and stability of the upper arm, particularly when it is lifted away from the body. The rounded curve of the shoulder is due primarily to the bulk of the deltoid muscle. Deltoid muscle atropy is most commonly caused by injury to the axillary nerve or muscle wasting after shoulder surgery or injury.
Placing silicone implants into the arm or shoulder has been historically avoided by plastic surgeons. Besides being rarely done, there is an understandable fear that the complication rate is higher than many other implant locations. To avoid complications, implants are placed beneath the muscle and just on top of the humerus bone. The deep location of the implant then acts as a spacer providing a deep push on the outer contour for volume enhancement. Placement of the implant right under the skin is easier but has a much higher rate of infection and capsular contracture and often results in visible outlining of the implant on the shoulder.
The type of implant used is the same as any other body implant, a soft and flexible form of silicone rubber.
Dr. Barry Eppley