Athletes: Pectoral Muscle Function and Breast Implants – Part 2

Many of my patients who are athletes undergo breast augmentation surgery, are both professional and amateur.  As I discussed in part 1 of this blog I have found that breast augmentation in athletes works well when breast implants are placed in the plane underneath the pectoral muscle. This method results in no apparent effect on their athletic performance.

There are a few sports where it may make sense to consider placing the implant in the subglandular plane, a space that can be developed beneath the undersurface of the breast and above the pectoral muscle.  This protects the implant from the repeated forceful contraction of the pec muscle.  It also avoids the distortion that will occur in the breast shape when a highly developed pectoral muscle contracts over an implant.

Patients who are gymnasts have tremendous development and agility of the upper body musculature.  These athletes also are usually quite lean, so there may be relatively little breast tissue to camouflage an implant if it is placed above the pec muscle.  Even though this is the case, it is usually best to place the implant above the muscle in gymnasts.

Some events in track and field require a great amount of activity of the upper body muscles.  Pole vaulting the shot put, the javelin throw, the hammer throw and the discus throw require forceful contraction of well-developed pectoral muscles.  I usually recommend to patients who participate in these sports that I place the breast implant in the subglandular plane.

There are several other track and field events in which the pattern of physical activity makes me lean toward placing the implant in the subglandular plane.  These events include the hurdles, the long jump, the high jump and any of the combined events such as the decathlon.

Many of my patients are competitive runners, bikers, swimmers and triathletes.  I also care for many patients who compete in equestrian events, play tennis and golf.  In general I have not seen problems when patients with these athletic interests have breast implants in the subpectoral plane.

I am eager to learn from anyone who has specific experiences with breast implants that pertain to a particular sport.  Please share them with me and the other readers of this series.