Fitness and bodybuilding are more popular today in the Unites States than ever. The downside to weightlifting for females is the gradual loss of breast tissue as they become leaner. As women train and tone their bodies, they tend to lose their feminine body curves with the reduction of adipose tissue. With less breast tissue to provide implant coverage, placement of the implant becomes a more important issue than in the typical female. If you are considering breast augmentation to regain breast fullness, it is vital to seek a board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon who is a specialist in breast enhancement and breast revision surgery.
Dr. Linder has placed well over 15,000 breast implants in women worldwide from over 26 countries. Female FTC physique models and bodybuilders often have a loss of upper breast pole fullness with complete fat loss and thickening of the pectoralis major muscle. These women often have significant skin laxity and complete loss of breast fullness, making them unable to maintain fullness in their bikini tops during competitions. Breast augmentation is an excellent surgery for all physique models and bodybuilders; however, the patient must have the implants placed in the appropriate position.
Breast Implant Placement
As a board-certified plastic surgeon who specializes in breast augmentation, breast revision, and breast reconstruction, I have placed implants in physique fitness models and bodybuilders worldwide for almost two decades. Implants may be placed either above or below the pectoralis major muscle, and there are pros and cons for each location.
For the majority of my patients who are amateur FTC fitness models, I use submuscular (below the muscle) implant placement with the dual plane technique. Placing the implant above the muscle would lead to increased implant visibility, rippling, and scar tissue formation. This can be very distressing in the cleavage area, which can be impossible to hide, especially during competition. Placing the implant beneath the pectoralis major muscle for tissue coverage will reduce implant visibility, especially during competition. Therefore, submuscular positioning is normally the preferred approach, especially in patients who are not going to be professional bodybuilders.
Subglandular (over the muscle) positioning can be performed in very few select patients who are international professional bodybuilders who will continue to strengthen their pectoralis major muscles. If the implant is placed below the pectoralis muscles, working out the muscles can lead to increased scar tissue, malposition, and displacement of the implant. Therefore, serious professional bodybuilders may consider having their implants placed above the muscle.
Type of Implant
Either saline or silicone gel implants can be used for breast augmentation in patients who are amateur or professional fitness models, FTC, ISFD, or bodybuilding women.
High Profile Saline
For women who are extraordinarily thin with very minimal amounts of body tissue or fat, I often prefer to use saline, high profile, 68 Natrelle® implants that are over-filled. This is one way to significantly reduce visible rippling. Low profile and moderate plus profile saline implants can lead to tremendous amounts of visibility and rippling in lean, thin-chested women.
High Profile Silicone
Silicone gel implants, when placed in bodybuilders with minimal body fat, should normally be high profile in nature. Either the Natrelle INSPIRA® Style SRF or the Natrelle INSPIRA® Style SRX extra high profile silicone gel implants can be placed. Although the SRX is quite round, it has the lowest incidence of visible rippling for patients with thin breast tissue.
Resuming Exercise After Surgery
As patients resume their fitness routine after surgery, they typically need to wait six to eight weeks before performing any upper body exercises. We instruct our patients not to perform any pectoralis major exercises whatsoever, including heavy bench pressing, flies, or internal push-ups. All of these exercises can lead to severe contracture of the pectoralis major muscle, which may lead to cracking or tearing of the capsule, implant malposition or displacement, seroma formation, and capsular contracture.
Fitness patients should wear appropriate brassieres, such as underwire bras when needed and the Dr. Linder Bra® at night, in order to allow for compression and to prevent lowering of the inframammary fold, which can occur with gravitational changes.
Patients with minimal breast tissue who desire breast revision surgery may require fat grafting to the breasts and/or acellular dermal matrix (ADM) grafts, such as Strattice™ Reconstructive Tissue Matrix or AlloDerm® Regenerative Tissue Matrix. On secondary or tertiary revisions, patients with no body fat can only have their implants placed submuscularly with minimal muscle coverage. Fat grafting and ADM graft material can reduce the risk of visible rippling and malpositioning.
If you are a bodybuilder or model interested in breast augmentation, please call (310) 275-4513 or fill out our online contact form today. Dr. Stuart A. Linder is a breast surgery specialist and looks forward to helping you attain the breasts and confidence you deserve.