Full Submuscular Breast Implant Placement

Reviewed by and by Michael Olding, MD, FACS

In full submuscular implant placement, the implant is placed behind the breast and the major muscle groups in the chest area.

Breast and Chest Anatomy Related to Full Submuscular Implant Placement

A woman's breast is a soft tissue that extends over the muscles of the upper chest. The breast comprises a complex group of tissues, including glandular, fatty, and fibrous tissues.

The breast is positioned over the pectoral muscles of the chest wall and is attached to the chest wall by fibrous strands called Cooper's ligaments. The fatty tissue in the breast is what gives the breast the soft consistency. This tissue extends throughout the breasts, surrounding the glands and fibrous tissues.

Two groups of muscles behind the breast are the pectoralis major and pectoralis minor. The pectoralis major muscles attach to the upper arm area and stretch out across the chest like a fan. The pectoralis minor muscles attach to the shoulder blade (scapula) and stretch down to the ribs.

The abdominal muscles stretch from the lower stomach to the middle of the chest. The serratus muscles extend from the front surface of the ribs to the shoulder blade. The muscle fascia is the covering for the muscle tissues.

One of the potential benefits of full submuscular placement is that it may lower the risk of developing a breast implant complication called capsular contracture. Some breast surgeons believe that the constant massaging provided by the pectoral muscles helps inhibit the proliferation of scar tissue around the implants.

Consult a Surgeon

A board-certified plastic surgeon can answer your questions and help you decide which type of breast implant procedure is best for you.

The full submuscular-placement technique requires the most skill and training for plastic surgeons to master. For this technique it is most important to verify your plastic surgeon's background, skills and certifications.

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About the Reviewer of This Article

Michael Olding, MD, FACS, of Washington, D.C. is board-certified in plastic and reconstructive surgery by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the Northeastern Society of Plastic Surgery and the National Capital Society of Plastic Surgeons, where he was elected president. Dr. Olding specializes in cosmetic plastic surgery procedures and clinically related activities in cosmetic surgery, cosmetic facial surgery, breast augmentation and reduction, rhinoplasty, body contouring, liposuction and melanoma. He is also one of the area experts on soft-tissue fillers (Restylane, Sculptra and Botox). He received his doctorate in medicine from the University of Kentucky in 1980 and completed his internship at Cornell Medical Center. He completed his fellowship in plastic and reconstructive surgery at McGill University in Montreal. Dr. Olding maintains hospital staff privileges at George Washington University Medical Center, Sibley Hospital and Children's Hospital in Washington, D.C. More about Dr. Michael Olding