Northwest Face & Body



Procedure Time

1 Hours

Recovery Time

5 Days

Transumbilical Breast Augmentation

There are many techniques plastic surgeons use to place breast implants. The three most common breast augmentation methods are the inframammary fold, transaxillary, and periareolar. Each of these refers to the location of the incision. In the early 1990s, a new breast augmentation technique placed breast implants through an incision in the belly button. Known as transumbilical breast augmentation, or the TUBA technique, this method was refined over the next decade. It is now slowly gaining popularity as a breast augmentation technique, especially in the United States. Northwest Face & Body offers the best transumbilical breast augmentation Bellevue and Kirkland provide.

Understanding Transumbilical Breast Augmentation

When it comes to the incision location options for breast augmentation in Bellevue, a transumbilical incision is the furthest from the breasts. This poses unique advantages and challenges. For patients, scarring is well hidden in the belly button and can lead to an easier recovery. Few plastic surgeons are qualified to perform this procedure. It is important to find a plastic surgeon well versed in transumbilical breast augmentation.

The procedure involves making a small incision in the belly button and creating tunnels just below the skin. Your plastic surgeon will then guide the breast implants through these tunnels and into place. When performed by a qualified and talented plastic surgeon, the transumbilical approach offers many advantages.

Benefits Of The Transumbilical Approach

Transumbilical breast augmentation offers many benefits to good candidates for the procedure. As previously mentioned, the most favored benefit is that it keeps scarring away from the breasts, and in most cases, invisible. Other notable benefits of transumbilical breast augmentation include:

  • The incision does not experience tension from the augmented breasts
  • May reduce chances of developing capsular contracture
  • Little to no risk to the nipples, milk ducts, and glands
  • Recovery time sometimes reduced
  • Reduced need for some forms of incision and care and scar treatments
  • May lessen chances of infection
  • Can address the size or shape of the belly button if desired

Who Are Good Candidates For Transumbilical Breast Augmentation?

Generally, good candidates for breast augmentation are likely also good candidates for transumbilical breast augmentation. The technique lends itself well to all body types and can offer good results to breast augmentation patients.

Transumbilical breast augmentation can only use saline breast implants. Therefore, patients who have a preference for saline breast implants are better candidates for the procedure. Additionally, patients who are not good candidates for silicone implants may benefit from transumbilical breast augmentation.

In general, candidates for the transumbilical approach:

  • Are in good general health
  • Have no unmanaged medical conditions
  • Do not have a history of major abdominal surgeries (although this does vary from patient to patient)
  • Have realistic expectations
  • Understand the procedure fully

Before And After Belly Button Breast Augmentation In Bellevue

Considering that transumbilical breast augmentation is a specialized technique, patients can find it difficult to find the right surgeon for Bellevue breast augmentation. At Northwest Face & Body, our team of plastic surgeons aims to make the breast augmentation process as stress free as possible.


First, you will come to a consultation with a Bellevue plastic surgeon. At this consultation, your plastic surgeon will determine if you are a good candidate for transumbilical breast augmentation.

To begin, they will want to understand your goals and expectations for the procedure. Next, they will review your medical history. Finally, your plastic surgeon may conduct a physical exam to recommend the best technique and breast implant to reach your goals.

Your breast augmentation consultation may also include Vectra 3D imaging to digitally create what your results may look like. This can also help in choosing the right implant size and type.

Before undergoing your Bellevue transumbilical breast augmentation, you will attend a pre-operative appointment. At this appointment, you will receive instructions on how to prepare for surgery. Your plastic surgeon will likely request that you stop smoking well in advance of the procedure. They will also give instructions for surgery day and your recovery. Such as the best type of clothing to wear on surgery day.


On the day of your transumbilical breast augmentation, you will come to our accredited surgery center. The Northwest Face & Body team will check you in and prepare you for surgery. This includes running preliminary tests and taking your vitals. Your plastic surgeon will then make preliminary markings.

Once cleared, a licensed anesthesia provider will place you under general anesthesia. You will remain perfectly comfortable throughout the surgery. Your plastic surgeon will then make the incision in your belly button. They will start by creating the tunnels through which they will place the breast implants. This involves inserting a tool through the incision and under the skin.

When your plastic surgeon finishes making the tunnels, they will carefully insert the breast implants. One by one, your plastic surgeon will guide the implant through the tunnels and into the breasts. They will then position them.

Finally, your Bellevue plastic surgeon will test the breast implant placement at different angles before stitching the incision. In most cases, transumbilical breast augmentation takes between one and two hours. At this point, you will slowly begin to wake up from anesthesia.


Plastic surgeons have noted that transumbilical breast augmentation patients often see an easier and less painful recovery. This will certainly not be the case for every patient, and there is still pain and downtime involved. Your Bellevue plastic surgeon will prescribe a painkiller and antibiotic to promote a healthy and comfortable recovery.

While your incision differs from other options, many of the recovery instructions from other techniques also apply to transumbilical breast augmentation. Your plastic surgeon will likely give you instructions like:

  • Avoid lifting anything over ten pounds for several weeks
  • Do not partake in strenuous activities or exercise for at least two weeks
  • Massage the breasts as instructed
  • Attend post-operative appointments
  • Wear only your surgical bra until instructed otherwise
  • Follow the instructions for showering and other activities
  • Get up and walk every few hours to promote healthy circulation

Since the transumbilical incision is away from the breasts, this reduces the chances of popping a stitch or harming your incision. Also, this may lead to a lessened chance of infection. Some studies have noted that the transumbilical approach may have links to lower capsular contracture rates.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Get Silicone Implants With The Transumbilical Approach?

Unfortunately, no. Silicone gel breast implants come pre-filled. Therefore, the tunnels your plastic surgeon creates cannot accommodate silicone breast implants. While plastic surgeons continue to innovate breast augmentation surgery, currently it is not possible to place silicone implants with this method. Saline implants are the standard for the TUBA procedure and can provide fantastic results in the right candidate

Is Transumbilical Breast Augmentation Safe?

Transumbilical breast augmentation is perfectly safe when performed by an experienced plastic surgeon trained in the belly button incision. Many studies show that transumbilical breast augmentation may lower some risks and contribute to lower rates of complication.

Does The Surgery Take Longer?

The transumbilical approach does not typically take longer than traditional breast augmentation methods. A plastic surgeon can often perform a breast augmentation surgery in under two hours, and sometimes in under one hour.

The amount of time your transumbilical breast augmentation in Kirkland will take largely depends on the specifics of the procedure. It can also change depending on the surgery itself.

How Much Does A Transumbilical Breast Augmentation Cost?

The cost of transumbilical breast augmentation varies based on breast implant type and the tenants of your surgery. To get a good idea of the starting breast augmentation costs, you can view our Price List. Our Price Simulator™ also allows you to explore the options available at Northwest Face & Body and receive a preliminary price estimate.

Will It Take Longer To Recover?

No, breast augmentation recovery is highly individualized. However, the transumbilical method usually does not significantly reduce recovery time. With that said, the small, tension-free incision often heals better and faster than incisions under stress from the augmented breasts.

Some claim that a transumbilical breast augmentation results in less post-operative pain than traditional techniques. Although, breast implants placed transumbilically can also be placed under the muscle. This results in a similar recovery to other incisions with an under the muscle placement.

What Are The Risks Of Breast Augmentation?

Breast augmentation, like every surgery, comes with some risks. The immediate risks of surgery include:

  • Bleeding
  • General anesthesia complications
  • Blood clots
  • Infection
  • Breathing issues

Most complications of breast augmentation occur rarely. When they do, it is often within a few days of surgery. The most common complications associated with breast augmentation and surgery recovery are:

  • Capsular contracture
  • Prolonged bruising or swelling
  • Rippling
  • Rupture
  • Pain
  • Changes in nipple sensation
  • Necrosis
  • Implant leakage

All of these risks and complications are rare. Your plastic surgeon will take precautions to prevent them from happening including thorough patient screening, lab tests, and refined surgical technique.

The Best Transumbilical Breast Augmentation In Bellevue And Kirkland

Northwest Face & Body is a plastic surgery provider that specializes in comprehensive breast surgery. Our plastic surgeons trained extensively in all techniques and work to identify the best one for every individual. With a state and Medicare accredited surgical center, Northwest Face & Body serves as the Eastside’s best destination for breast augmentation.

Located conveniently in Kirkland, Northwest Face & Body offers surgical and non-surgical cosmetic services. With talented plastic surgeons and injectors, we can treat most cosmetic concerns with a range of available treatments.

To schedule a consultation at Northwest Face & Body, call us at 425-576-1700. You can also contact us online using our contact forms and Price Simulator™.