At the Bougainvillea Clinique, we educate our patients on the pros and cons of different procedures, so each individual can decide which option best fits his or her needs. Over the last few years, there has been increasing interest in the TUBA procedure among breast augmentation patients – this is the procedure that allows the implant to be placed through an incision in the umbilicus (belly button). “TUBA” stands for Trans Umbilical Breast Augmentation.
Until recently, patients choosing the TUBA procedure were only offered subglandular breast augmentation (under the breast tissue). At the Bougainvillea Clinique, we offer both submuscular and subglandular TUBA procedures depending on the individual’s desires and their breast and body shape. Remember the TUBA is just another place to put the incision and way to access the breast area to place the implant. The decision on where to place the incision should never compromise the ability to get the best possible shape of the breast and best possible placement of the implant. In general, the inframammary (under the breast) and periareolar (lower part of the areola) incisions still allow the surgeon the best access to the breast area. We will determine if the breast shape needs to be changed or improved significantly, and recommend the best course of action. It may also not be the best choice if the individual desires large implants. Remember larger implants require more extensive work to create the pocket for the implant, so correct positioning becomes much more important.
The next best incision (besides the fold and nipple incisions) for good access is the axillary (underarm) incision, followed by the TUBA procedure. Both of these procedures require the use and availability of an endoscope (surgical telescope) so the surgeon can visually check the pocket he is creating. Some surgeons do the TUBA and the axillary approaches without the availability of an endoscope, which obviously limits the ability to see exactly what has been done within the pocket. Other surgeons claim that the TUBA procedure is scarless – this is obviously untrue. The incision and scar are simply now in the belly button area. For some this is an advantage, for others it may not be their preferred choice. We think the TUBA procedure is best suited for individuals who have good shape and symmetry to start with, and who are requesting a small to moderate enlargement. The TUBA procedure may be a bad choice for someone with significant uneven size and shape of the breasts, poor shape to start with, or someone who wants a large augmentation. Remember if there are problems with the augmentation, there is a strong likelihood that an additional inframammary or periareolar incision will be required to fix the problem. This is a potential disadvantage of the TUBA and to a lesser extent the Transaxillary procedure.
As with all the choices regarding breast augmentation, we always recommend you understand the pros and cons of every option. Your surgeon should be able to provide these options, even though as a well-trained surgeon he may make strong recommendations as to what he thinks is the best option for you. Avoid gimmicks, be careful of choosing a procedure just because it is new. This same philosophy applies when considering round or anatomical implants.
The vast majority of breast augmentation scars heal well with very few complaints from patients in our experience. Similarly every area has the potential for a noticeable scar – yes even the axillary and TUBA procedures can have a noticeable scar occasionally.
Advantages of the TUBA:
- Scar in the belly button area (a disadvantage for some)
Disadvantages of the TUBA
- Scar in the belly button area (an advantage for some)
- Will likely require a second incision in the unlikely situation that significant bleeding occurs during surgery, or if capsular contracture needs to be surgically treated later.
- More difficult than the areola or fold incisions to fix uneven breast position, more difficult than the areola or fold incision to accurately create a pocket for a large implant.
We believe that the TUBA procedure is an excellent choice of incision for some people, but not necessarily the best choice for others. To find out more about your breast augmentation options, call the Bougainvillea Clinique today for your personal consultation.