Endoscopic transaxillary prepectoral conversion for submuscular breast implants

Arch Plast Surg. 2018 Mar;45(2):158-164. doi: 10.5999/aps.2017.01263. Epub 2018 Mar 5.


Background: During breast augmentation, the transaxillary approach provides the advantage of allowing the mammary prosthesis to be placed through incisions that are remote from the breast itself, thereby reducing the visibility of postoperative scars. For patients experiencing capsular contracture who do not want additional scars, the previous transaxillary scar can be used for site change and implant exchange.

Methods: This study analyzed 17 patients (34 breasts) with submuscular breast implants with grade III-IV capsular contracture who received treatment from 2010 to 2015. The mean age of the patients was 29 years (range, 20-38 years). The inclusion criterion was a pinch test of more than 3 cm at the upper pole of the breast. Previous axillary scars were used to expose the pectoralis fascia, and submuscular breast implants were removed carefully. The dissection underneath the pectoralis fascia was performed with endoscopic assistance, using electrocautery under direct visualization.

Results: The mean follow-up period was 14 months (range, 6-24 months). The entire dissection plane was changed from the submuscular plane to the subfascial plane. Round textured gel implants were used, with a mean implant size of 220 mL (range, 160-300 mL). Two patients developed grade II capsular contracture. There were no cases of malposition or asymmetry. Three patients complained of minor implant palpability. None of the patients required additional surgery.

Conclusions: Endoscopic subfascial conversion may be an effective technique for treating capsular contracture and avoiding scarring of the breast in selected patients.

Keywords: Axilla; Breast implants; Endoscopes; Mammaplasty; Reoperation.