The transaxillary technique in breast augmentation uses an incision in the axilla, the space beneath the shoulder through which vessels and nerves enter and leave the upper arm. It’s commonly known as the armpit.
If you’re considering breast enhancement, you might think this technique is appealing because the incision (and scar) is in a remote location, away from the breast. That’s why some have called it a “scarless technique.” If the scar is visible, is not associated with your breast augmentation.
The surgical incision is small. Space is also limited when passing the implant from the armpit to the breast. Therefore, only a saline breast implant can be used.
Before it is filled with saline, the shell of the implant is passed through the axilla to the breast pocket. Through a port in the implant shell, your surgeon fills the implant to a specified volume, while it’s inside the breast pocket.
Challenges in the Transaxillary Technique
One known drawback of the transaxillary technique is the surgeon’s difficulty seeing the breast pocket and muscle tissue. Lacking direct access to the breast (such as with the inframammary technique), it becomes more challenging to control implant placement.
Plastic surgeons have addressed this challenge by using endoscopy, a minimally invasive surgery technique. Using an endoscope, equipped with a tiny camera, your surgeon will have a clear view of the breast pocket and pectoral muscle.
The majority of breast augmentation procedures still use the inframammary technique, which involves an incision in the breast crease. However, transaxillary breast augmentation is an accepted technique with rigorous studies evaluating its safety and effectiveness.