The Supra-Inframammary Fold Approach to Breast Augmentation: Avoiding a Double Bubble

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Abstract

Background:

The inframammary incision for breast augmentation is commonly made at or below the existing inframammary fold (IMF) in an effort to keep the scar in the crease. In recent studies, surgeons inferiorly relocate the IMF, center the implant at nipple level, and attempt to secure the new IMF with sutures. The fascial attachments (also called ligaments) holding the IMF are released, risking a bottoming-out deformity or a double bubble.

Methods:

This retrospective study evaluated 160 consecutive women undergoing primary subpectoral breast augmentation. An incision was made 0.5–1.0 cm above the IMF. Dissection proceeded directly to the pectoralis margin, preserving IMF fascial attachments. The pectoralis origin was released from the lower sternum. Surveys were administered to obtain patient-reported outcome data. Ninety-eight patients (61%) participated.

Results:

Implants often appear high on the chest at early follow-up appointments but gradually settle. One patient (0.6%) developed a double bubble. No reoperations were needed for implant malposition. One patient had a mild animation deformity. There were no cases of symmastia. The mean result rating was 9.1/10. Four percent of surveyed patients found their implants too high; 8% found them too low. Ninety-two patients (94%) reported that their scars were well-hidden. Ninety-six women (98%) said that they would redo the surgery.

Conclusions:

A supra-IMF approach anticipates the normal descent of implants after augmentation. Scars remain hidden both in standing and supine positions. This method reduces the short-term risk of reoperation for implant malposition or a double bubble.

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