Breast reduction surgeries are very popular. They can help women with physical pain, psychological distress, and aesthetic issues. These surgeries will cause some scars due to incisions. But, if you take proper care, these scars can become less noticeable over time.
It is important to know what type of scarring can occur and how to care for it. This guide will tell you about breast reduction scars. It will explain what they look like, where they are on your body, and which treatments are available. Plus, the guide provides information on how to care for scars. This will help them look better and stop any discomfort or other side effects.
Types of Scars
Breast Reduction surgery can be for medical or cosmetic reasons. After, scars will appear. The type of operation affects the severity of scars. Different techniques cause various scar sizes, shapes and colors.
This article looks at the types of scars from Breast Reduction surgery:
Vertical scarring is the most common type of scarring after breast reduction. It’s usually in the lower part of where the reduction was done, going from underbust to abdomen. This is essential for a successful outcome, as it allows for re-positioning and shaping of breasts. The size of the scar depends on how much tissue is removed – it can’t be known until the surgery starts.
To minimize visibility, wear bras with thicker straps or tops with horizontal detailing. Even so, the scar will still be visible when wearing contemporary clothes.
Inverted T-Shaped Scar
The most common scar after breast reduction is an inverted T-shaped pattern. This includes a longer, horizontal incision around the areola and another vertical incision from the areola to the nipple. The horizontal scar is usually located above the bra band. The vertical part extends from the upper edge of the areola down.
Surgeon skill level, tissue handling, post-op care, skin quality and genetics all affect the size and shape of the scar. The scar typically heals to thin hyperextended lines. It can take up to 12 months for the scar to mature.
An experienced plastic surgeon can minimize signs of scarring. With proper care and medical grade scar management, you can expect satisfactory results after breast reduction surgery.
The most common scar is the vertical or “anchor-shaped”. It runs from the nipple to above the crease of the breast. The scar widens out into an inverted T. It is one long scar that is moderately visible when clothing exposes the chest area. Some women may not like it.
Discuss any concerns with your plastic surgeon. They can help minimize its appearance and make it blend in with natural skin color.
A Periareolar Scar is a type of mark around the areola. This area is dark and surrounds the nipple. Scarring can occur after any breast reduction procedure or surgery involving the nipple. Each patient is unique; their results depend on body type, skin elasticity, and healing.
The scar appears as a line or bar in a circular shape. It may fade over time, but this can take several months. It may still be felt if touched.
Those wanting an improved appearance can look into laser therapy or steroid injections. Always talk to a doctor or surgeon first, as results will vary for each patient.
Scar Treatment Options
Scarring from breast reduction surgery is common. But, there are treatments to lessen their visibility! Solutions range from natural remedies to topical treatments and even laser treatments. In this article, we’ll dive into the types of treatments available for post-surgery scarring:
- Natural remedies
- Topical treatments
- Laser treatments
Silicone sheeting is an option for scars that are itchy or painful. It creates a barrier between the scar and clothing or jewelry to protect and reduce irritation. Depending on the severity of the scar, it may help with healing and discoloration. It is cost-effective and has few side effects.
The sheeting can be put on with tapes or adhesives. It comes in many shapes and sizes, such as strips, circles, half circles, sheets, and rolls. Wear it for 12 hours a day. Don’t wear it when showering or in direct sunlight, as this can lead to infection or discoloration. The FDA recommends 8-12 weeks of use, depending on the severity of the scarring. Results vary, but most people see improvement in their scars after using silicone for several weeks. You can keep using it, if desired, to maintain results.
Laser resurfacing is a way of using laser energy to vaporize the top layers of skin. This helps to make the surface smooth and improve it. The laser boosts the production of collagen, which softens and reduces scars, discoloration, wrinkles, and other blemishes. Lasers are either ablative or non-ablative.
- Ablative lasers are used for surgical scar revision, like after breast reduction surgery. They cause more tissue damage, but require multiple treatments for best results.
- Non-ablative lasers are good for pigmentation, but the severity of the scarring determines how effective they will be.
Other treatments for scars after breast reduction may include creams or injections. It’s important to talk to your doctor about what is best for you, as not all methods will work for everyone.
Steroid injections are one of the more common treatments for breast reduction scars. They help reduce redness, swelling, and discoloration of the scar tissue. They may be used with other topical treatments like gels, creams, or sheets.
In some cases, a dermatologist can inject corticosteroids into the scar tissue. This helps soften and flatten raised areas, making the scar less visible. This treatment requires multiple injections over multiple weeks or months. The area must be kept moisturized after each injection.
Laser therapy is often used after breast reduction surgery to reduce redness and do away with textural irregularities. Light energy is directed at the area to break up deeper layers, without damaging surrounding tissues. Steroid injections and/or laser therapy can improve breast reduction scars when done correctly by a clinician.
Intense Pulsed Light Therapy
Intense Pulsed Light Therapy (IPL) is a recent treatment for scars after breast reduction. Scars may be mild or severe. Many surgeons suggest creams and ointments. IPL, however, utilizes light for the healed wound area.
A nurse or technician with special training applies light pulses to the scarred area. The light causes thermal burn points. These points increase the production of new skin cells and collagen. Gradually, the points reduce in size. This makes the area look smoother and even-toned. Treatment takes 30 minutes per session. Up to 6 sessions are recommended for best results.
IPL can be an effective option for reducing scarring. However, it is important to select experienced providers.
Prevention of Scarring
Patients getting breast reduction surgery may worry about scarring. Luckily, there are treatments and techniques to reduce the visibility of post-surgery scars. Let’s look at some methods of prevention, and how to get the best results:
- Use topical scar treatments.
- Avoid sun exposure.
- Massage the scar.
- Use silicone sheets.
- Opt for laser treatments.
Avoid Sun Exposure
In the weeks after your breast reduction surgery, take extra care. Avoid sun exposure. This can make any scars more visible. Protect from the sun for up to a year. This is essential for optimal healing.
Apply sunscreen with SPF 30 that offers broad spectrum coverage when outdoors. Wear clothes that cover the scars and limit direct exposure. Talk to your healthcare provider or plastic surgeon to maximize efficacy.
Keep your scars safe from the sun for one year. Sunscreen can help make them less visible, give your skin an even tone, and stop any more injury that could cause more scars. When putting sunscreen on use one with a broad spectrum, SPF 30 or higher. If you’re outside during the day, put it on every two hours or after swimming or exercising. Wear big hats and clothes to protect your scars in addition to using sunscreen.
Use Scar Care Products
Scar care products are made to minimize the look of scars and ease discomfort. Post-breast reduction, use creams, gels, silicone sheets or tapes. Clean right away and moisten with ointment. Wear sun protection outdoors. OTC silicone products may soften and flatten scars. Vitamin C or antioxidants help healing and discoloration. When massaging, use gentle pressure. Avoid tugging, pulling, or tearing on fresh wounds. Ask your doctor before starting an at-home treatment.
Scarring from a breast reduction is very important for patient satisfaction. Different techniques give different results. You need to talk to your surgeon about your desired outcome, to make the right decision. Know that there is still a chance of visible scarring which may need extra surgery to fix.
Even though a breast reduction can be helpful, it comes with risks and complications.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can breast reduction surgery cause scarring?
Yes, breast reduction surgery can result in scarring. The extent and severity of scarring can vary depending on the individual’s healing process and the technique used by the surgeon.
2. How long does it take for scars to fade after breast reduction surgery?
Scars from breast reduction surgery can take up to two years to fully fade. However, they may continue to improve in appearance beyond that timeframe.
3. What can I do to minimize scarring after breast reduction surgery?
You can take steps to minimize scarring after breast reduction surgery by following your surgeon’s post-operative care instructions. This may include keeping the incision site clean and covered, avoiding strenuous activity, and using silicone scar sheets or other topical treatments recommended by your doctor.
4. Are there any non-surgical treatments available for reducing breast reduction scars?
Yes, there are non-surgical treatments, such as laser therapy and radiofrequency therapy, that can help to reduce the appearance of breast reduction scars. However, these treatments may be costly and are not always covered by insurance.
5. Can scar revision surgery be done to improve the appearance of breast reduction scars?
Yes, scar revision surgery may be an option for improving the appearance of breast reduction scars in some cases. This typically involves removing the scar tissue and creating a new incision site to minimize scarring.
6. Will my breast reduction scars be noticeable when wearing certain clothing?
The visibility of breast reduction scars will depend on their location and the type of clothing being worn. Scars may be more noticeable when wearing low-cut tops, swimwear, or other clothing that exposes the chest area. However, many people find that their scars are easily hidden by clothing and become less noticeable over time.