Transumbilical Breast Augmentation (TUBA) has been promoted for many years as the "next big thing" in breast augmentation because it promises breast augmentation with no scarring. However, nearly twenty years after its introduction, it is practiced by very few plastic surgeons. In an industry where every doctor is looking for a marketing edge with new technology and techniques, that statistic speaks for itself. TUBA may have some advantages, but overall these are outweighed by other considerations.
The Promise of TUBA
Proponents of TUBA call it "scarless breast augmentation." In the procedure, an incision is made in the navel, then tracks are made to the breasts with an endoscope. The endoscope is then used to form the pockets in the breasts for placement of the implants. Next, deflated and rolled saline implants are moved up to the pockets. The implants are then filled to the appropriate level to complete the augmentation. The end result is breast augmentation with only a tiny scar far from the breast.
The Problems with TUBA
There are many problems with the TUBA procedure, however, that prevent it from becoming widely adopted. The TUBA procedure can only be performed with saline implants, meaning that women who want the superior aesthetic result of silicone cannot have the TUBA procedure.
Because the procedure is performed remotely, it is difficult for doctors to obtain a good result with the TUBA procedure. In particular, forming symmetric pockets that will lead to symmetric breasts following the surgery is more difficult, leading to a higher reoperation rate.
Breast augmentation is surgery, and all surgery carries risks, no matter how it is performed. If you do experience complications during your cosmetic surgery, it can be harder to address those complications using the tuba technique. Finally, revision surgery may be more difficult and may require an approach via an inframammary or periareolar incision anyway.