Breast Implants: in front or behind the muscle?


In the upper chest there is a fan shaped muscle extending from the breast bone (sternum) to the shoulder. Anatomically, the muscle is known as the pectoralis major. Breast implants can be placed either in front of, or behind, the pectoral muscle.

Historically, implants were placed in front of the muscle. This method is still commonly employed. The advantage to placing the implant in front of the muscle ( “pre-pectoral”) is that it is less painful initially, there is no shape distortion with muscular contraction, and more central placement (“cleavage”) can be achieved. The disadvantages are that the upper edge of the implant is more obvious, and there may be a higher incidence of surrounding scar tightening.

Placement behind the muscle ( “sub-pectoral”) has been more recently popularized. Only the upper portion of the implant is actually under the muscle edge. The advantages to placement beneath the muscle are that it creates a more natural drape to the upper breast, and there may be a lower incidence of scar tightening around the implant. The disadvantage is that less central “cleavage” can be achieved, and there is slight distortion of the breast with muscle contraction.

This entry was posted on Friday, July 29th, 2011 at 7:34 pm and is filed under Breast, Frequently Asked Questions. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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