One of the decisions you make when getting breast implants is where they will be located in the breast. Your options are either over (subglandular) or under(submuscular/dual plane) the pectoral muscle.
If at some point you decide to change your implants - either to correct a complication, or to change the look of your breasts - you may decide to change the location too.
From Over to Under
It is very common to change implants from over to under the muscle.
Some of the reasons why women choose to change their implants from subglandular to submuscular are:
- Aging breast tissue - over time the breast tissue can thin and make breast implants in an over the muscle location more noticeable
- Decreasing ripples and wrinkles - Moving an implant over the muscle to under gives an extra layer of coverage to reduce these aesthetic issues.
- A more natural look - an augmented look may have been desired initially. Moving implants to under the muscle can create more natural looking breasts.
- Capsular contracture repair - if you experience this breast augmentation complication and your implants were over the muscle, your plastic surgeon will likely suggest switching any replacement implants (after surgical repair) to under the muscle as there is a slightly lower rate of capsular contracture below the muscle
- Implant malposition - if your implant ends up somewhere it shouldn't be (e.g. too close together - symmastia) it can be improved if the implant pocket is switched from over to under
If an over to under implant relocation is something you're considering it's worth knowing that the surgery will likely mean a longer recovery than your first surgery, as it's more involved. And, if your plastic surgeon is closing your old implant pocket with stitches this may limit the size of implant placed.
When implants have been over the muscle for some time you may also need to consider breast lift surgery (as the breast tissue may have sagged).
From Under to Over
There really is no superior location for a breast implant, no 'one size fits all' (as it were). Instead, your plastic surgeon will recommend the location of your implants based on your anatomy and your augmentation goals.
If you're switching your implants from the submuscular to subglandular location it may be because of:
- Flex distortion (or hyperdynamic muscle) - all implants placed under the muscle will move when the pectoral muscles (which they are under) are flexed. Once everything is healed you can do no damage by lifting (objects, or weights!) but some women don't like the sensation or the look of flex distortion. Changing implants to over the muscle will fix this issue.
- Visible lines at the inner edges of the breasts - to place implants under the muscle it first has to be released. Where the strong muscle is still connected to the breast it can cause visible lines on the inside edges of the breasts. When women don't like the look this creates they may choose to switch the implant to over the muscle.
It is not uncommon to switch implants from above to below the muscle or below to above depending on what you are attempting to change about your breasts.
These kind of surgeries rarely involve just an implant location change. When switching implant location you may also be considering a change in implant type (silicone or saline), size (upsizing or downsizing) and even some other kind of corrective (or revisionary) surgery.
If you're considering changing the location of your implants (for either an aesthetic change, or a complication correction) it's really important to consult with an experienced Board Certified plastic surgeon to discuss your options and make the right choice for you. :)