One concern people have about getting breast augmentation: scars. While surgeons have gotten better and better at hiding breast augmentation scars, the TUBA (transumbilical breast augmentation) technique doesn’t leave any marks on your breasts. In fact, the only incision is hidden so well, you’ll probably never see it. 

What is TUBA breast augmentation?

TUBA stands for transumbilical breast augmentation. “Transumbilical” just means “through the belly button,” and that’s exactly how this technique works. Instead of scars in the area of the breasts, patients get one tiny scar hidden inside the belly button where no one can see it. 

People often wonder how a surgeon can put an implant in place after navigating all the way from the belly button to the breast. New techniques and visual imaging let skilled surgeons perform this procedure with results as good or better than traditional implant methods. 

How Does a Surgeon Do a TUBA Procedure?

Your surgeon will carefully open up an access tunnel from the belly button to each breast, using a blunt instrument that doesn’t cut or damage tissue. Opening up access moves between skin, muscle, and fat layers, avoiding all the important structures. Your surgeon will use an endoscopic camera to examine the area to make sure everything is ready for the implants. 

If you have your heart set on silicone or gummy bear implants, this technique won’t work for you. Only saline implants can be inserted this way. The surgeon inserts empty implants, arranges them inside the breast pockets, and fills them with saline to get the desired results. No worries, though: surgeons have several options for placing silicone implants with minimal scars. 

What are the Advantages of the TUBA technique?

Besides the obvious advantage of avoiding visible scars, TUBA offers some other benefits. TUBA surgeries have less risk of infection due to the very small incision. People also experience less pain and heal faster from a TUBA procedure since the small incision heals so quickly. 

You’ll experience some longer-term benefits from the TUBA technique as well. Since the surgeon never cuts into the breast tissue, you avoid some of the risks of traditional methods. The TUBA method avoids cutting or otherwise disrupting all the delicate nerves and structures of the breast. Unlike some methods, TUBA also preserves your ability to breastfeed in the future if that’s something you plan to do. 

What Should You Expect From a TUBA Breast Augmentation?

Your implants should look and feel just the same as saline implants placed in a more traditional way. In fact, sometimes surgeons can get better results because they can continue to fill and check the saline implant as they go, making sure they get the shape and size just right for your body. 

You should spend less time healing than with traditional methods. Most people will wear a pressure bandage for the first day, and you’ll usually need to take it easy for two to three weeks, although if your job doesn’t involve much physical activity, you might feel fine to go back to work during this time. 

What are the Alternatives to TUBA Breast Augmentation?

You have several options if TUBA isn’t right for you. First of all, not everyone wants saline implants. If you want silicone implants, your surgeon will probably place them either through an incision hidden in the armpit or a small incision along the edge of the areola. Your surgeon will examine you and decide which method will give you the best results. 

Some people choose not to have implants at all. While many people have never heard of it, fat transfer breast augmentation produces a subtle, natural increase in volume. It removes fat from elsewhere in the body with liposuction, then injects it into the breasts. The fat will graft or settle in and remain in the breasts. If you’re interested in a subtle increase that doesn’t involve implants at all, ask your surgeon about this method.