What is transaxillary endoscopic breast augmentation?
Transaxillary endoscopic breast augmentation is a technique of breast enlargement where breast implants are placed through an armpit incision. The incision is small, about 1-2 inches, and well hidden in the depth of the armpit. When the incision heals, it is barely noticeable. With the transaxillary endoscopic breast approach, the breast implants can be placed below or above the chest (also known as the pectoralis) muscle with great precision. The endoscope is a long thin tube with a camera at the end and is used to help in the creation of the pocket for the breast implant and the accurate positioning of the breast implant.
Why do patients choose the armpit incision for their breast implant surgery?
Many patients prefer the armpit incision because it avoids scars on the breast and avoids cutting through the breast tissue when placing the breast implants underneath the muscle. The armpit scar normally heals well and is barely visible.
Is it more difficult to have the implants placed through the armpit?
Actually it is easier. The pocket for the placement of the implant underneath the muscle is entered very easily through the armpit incision. The dissection of the breast pocket is completed with the assistance of the endoscope. The breast pocket is lifted up with no cutting of the breast tissue. With the visual guidance of the endoscope, the implants can be placed precisely in the proper position.
Is it more painful to have breast implants put in using the armpit incision?
No. Pain with breast augmentation surgery varies from patient to patient but normally lasts 1 to 2 days and is well controlled with pain relief medications. The pain is usually related to the placement of the implants underneath the muscle whether this is done through the armpit, periareolar or crease incision. Thus, the armpit incision is no more painful than the other incisions.
What care is required with the armpit incision?
The care is very simple. The armpit can be washed or shower normally. Deodorant can be used in few days after surgery. Shaving can be resumed in 2 weeks with care.
What if the breast implants need to be adjusted?
If a second surgery is necessary to adjust an implant, replace a leaking implant or correct a capsular contracture, this can be done through the original armpit incision.
Our team will evaluate your medical history to check for conditions that may delay the surgery or the healing process. Some of the common conditions are:
- Bleeding tendencies – problems with blood clotting, or lack of clotting
- Scarring problems you have had in the past – like keloid scars and hypertrophic scars
- Hypertension (High blood pressure) – particularly if it is not under control.
- Smoking – this may affect your reaction to the anaesthetic and prolong the healing process. Please stop smoking 4 weeks prior to surgery.
Please avoid aspirin and brufen-containing medication for two weeks prior to surgery to eliminate the chance of post op bleeding. Generally it is best to continue any blood pressure or blood sugar medications. These may safely be taken with a sip of water on the morning of surgery. Women should ensure negative pregnancy test before surgery.
Protect your health prior to surgery. Even a simple cold could cause complications with the anesthesia. If you do develop an illness right before your surgery, let your surgeon know. You may need to postpone your breast augmentation until you feel better. On the day of your procedure, do not wear any skin care products, makeup, deodorant, perfume, nail polish or powder.
After the surgery the surgeon will place waterproof plasters over your incision sites. Keep your incisions/suture line dry. If the plaster should get wet or start to peel off we recommend that you contact our office to make an appointment to have the wounds cleaned and redressed. You will be able to shower but not swim until your incisions are closed and your sutures have been removed.
Walk around as soon as you are able while recovering from breast augmentation surgery. This will help prevent blood clots and can also help relieve swelling. Do not engage in strenuous activities, or exercise, for at least three to four weeks after your surgery. You should plan to avoid activities which require much raising of the arms above the level of the head for 10 days after surgery. With great care, you can drive about 7 days after surgery.
You may be swollen for three or four months after breast implant surgery. Drinking water, cutting back on salt and engaging in light exercise can help reduce this swelling (edema). Do not take any over-the-counter or herbal diuretics unless advised to do so by your surgeon. You will probably have some bruising after your breast implant
surgery, but this will fade. Certain herbal remedies such as arnica or bromelain may help. Ask your surgeon what he recommends. If you still have some discolorations after several months, talk to your surgeon.
You may lose some sensitivity in the nipple or the surrounding skin after breast augmentation surgery. This usually subsides within a few weeks. In rare cases, however, loss of sensation can be permanent. As sensation returns to your nipples and breasts, you may experience sharp pains, itchiness, heat, tingling and prickling. These temporary sensations occur because nerve function is returning.
All breast augmentation techniques will leave a permanent scar behind, which is meant to be as inconspicuous as possible after healing. Scars will fade gradually but nipple numbness may take up to 12 months before sensation returns.