The Periareolar IncisionLast week, we talked about the pluses and minuses of choosing the transaxillary incision method for your breast augmentation. This week, we’ll take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of periareolar incisions.

The Periareolar Incision

Periareolar incisions are made at the outer edge of the areola, following the curve that separates the darker skin of the nipple from the rest of your breast. Once the incision is made—usually on the lower semi-circle of the areola—a pocket is created (either inside the breast or underneath the muscle), and the implant is slid in through the incision, moved into the pocket, and centered.

There are a few advantages to this kind of incision: 1) Because of the texture and darker color of the areola border, the scar is generally camouflaged quite well—sometimes so well that it’s virtually invisible; 2) Since the incision point is so close to the implant location, it makes it easy for plastic surgeons to control bleeding during surgery and to be very precise in their placement of the implants; 3) Unlike the transaxillary incision, a periareolar incision point can be reused in the case of future surgeries on the breast.

As good as this all sounds, there are a few downsides to the periareolar incision method. For one, if the scar doesn’t heal well after breast augmentation—which sometimes happens—it may be much more obvious (raised or lighter in color than the areola) than you might like. This kind of incision is also more likely than any other to sever milk ducts and nerves in the nipple, which can lead to difficulty with breastfeeding or loss of sensation in that area, and some studies have suggested that it poses a higher risk of capsular contraction than do the other incision types.

Next week: the inframammary incision.