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New study examines breast augmentation trends

Inframammary incision, submuscular implant placement become more common

Surgical trends in cosmetic breast augmentation using implants have changed over time, according to a study in the December 2023 issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

The study included data on 31,700 breast augmentation cases performed between 2005 and 2020. Cases were divided into early (2005-14) and more recent (2015-20) time periods to assess surgical trends.

Under-the-breast incision shows increase

The study found an increase in use of the inframammary incision, or under-the-breast incision. The inframammary incision was used in 80% of breast augmentation procedures studied from 2015-2020, up from 68% of procedures from 2005-2014.

Meanwhile, use of the periareolar incision, made around the lower perimeter of the nipple, was used in 24% of cases from 2005-2014 as compared to only 14% from 2015-2020.

Submuscular implant placement grows more popular

The submuscular placement of breast implants (under the pectoralis major muscle) became more popular in 2015-2020 vs. 2005-2014, the study said. Submuscular placements were found to be used in 56% of breast augmentation procedures in the latter time period, but only 22% in the earlier period.

Growth in use of the submuscular placement was shown to be at the expense of the subglandular placement, which was used in 19% of procedures from 2005-2014 compared to only 7% from 2015-2020. Subglandular breast implants are placed in a pocket above the pectoralis major muscle and below the glandular tissue of the breasts.

The study, led by Michael J. Stein, MD, of Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, assessed evolving trends in surgical techniques. Data was included on cosmetic breast augmentation cases submitted by 1,082 board-certified plastic surgeons from the Continuous Certification process of the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS).

ASPS Member Surgeons performed almost 300,000 breast augmentation procedures in 2022, according to ASPS statistics, making it the most frequently performed cosmetic plastic surgery procedure.

Source: American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS)

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