Breast reduction surgery is not all about shrinking the appearance of your bust line. It involves incisions, pain, and visible scars, which are the common characteristics of any cosmetic surgery. While the first two do not stay for long, you may feel extremely conscious until you become able to fade the scars away. Breast reduction scars not only look unappealing but also take a toll on your self-esteem. Today, in this article, we are going to discuss what you should expect from scarring after undergoing a breast reduction surgery. Also, find 15 surefire methods to deal with it successfully.
What are Breast Reduction Scars?
Breast reduction is a cosmetic surgical procedure in which excess fat, tissue, and skin of breasts are eliminated. This makes them smaller, lighter, firmer. perkier, and well-proportioned. Like any other surgery, the development of significant scars is unavoidable in breast reduction too. The process involves two or three incisions in the skin based on the technique followed by the surgeon for offering the best possible results to a specific patient. However, there are ways to reduce the appearance of these scars during and after the surgery.
Choosing a skilled and board-certified surgeon with many years of experience can ensure you minimal scarring.
Types of Breast Reduction Scars
In breast reduction, both the appearance and the extent of scarring depend on the approach followed by the surgeon for that particular surgery. Typically, two types of techniques are used:
1. Shorter-Scar Technique
The shorter-scar technique or ‘lollipop method’ is used for vertical breast reduction. If you are struggling with sagging breasts and looking for a minimal-to-moderate reduction in your breast size, this will help you go down a cup size. In this technique, the scar is formed by two small incisions, which are made:
- Around the outer edge of the areola
- Running from the base of the areola down toward the crease of the breast
As these incisions are pretty small in size, the scars remain covered by clothing as well as swimsuits (1). The scarring is also condensed to a small area on the lower half of the breast, especially below the nipple. However, this method does not have lots of scopes. In fact, it is not much effective for larger breast reductions (2).
2. Larger-Scar Technique
The larger-scar technique is a good choice for inverted-T breast reduction or anchor reduction. When you have significant sagging or asymmetry, this technique can be used to help you go down a few cup sizes or more. The scars here are formed by three incisions, which are made:
- Between the areola and the breast crease
- Around the areola
- Underneath the fold of the breast (horizontally along the crease)
As the number and size of the incisions are more than the previous one, the procedure becomes really extensive. Thus, it involves larger areas of scarring too.
Talk to your surgeon beforehand and learn more about these two different surgical techniques used for breast reduction. This will help you understand how the procedure is going to leave scars on your skin and what to expect post-surgery as well.
How Does the Scarring Look Like?
Breast reduction scars look pretty similar to the scars from other surgical incisions. Initially, the area of scarring becomes red or pink in color. The scar tissue is also formed, which is basically a thin, raised line on top of the skin. But it gradually turns darker and flatter upon healing. (3)
Do the Scars Worsen Over Time?
Right aftercare is needed to prevent the appearance of breast reduction scars over time. Make sure that you follow the advice of your doctor regarding this. The scars usually become more noticeable when no right scar reduction treatment is followed. But do not use over-the-counter (OTC) creams and ointments without proper consultation as it can make them even more prominent by triggering rash and irritation. There is also very little evidence that commercial scar removal products with vitamin E will work for surgery-induced scars (4). A few other factors like itching, scratching, excessive scrubbing, tanning, the habit of smoking, etc. may also aggravate the condition.
Women with a darker skin tone may experience hyperpigmentation and hypertrophic scars or keloids (thicker, raised scars) after having breast reduction surgery.
Do Breast Reduction Scars Go Away?
Needless to say, excessive scarring is the last thing women want to deal with while considering breast reduction surgery. While such scars never become fully invisible, they can fade away to such an extent that they would barely be visible. Usually, scars that are red in color and hard to touch take almost 3 to 4 months to go softer. However, you can expect them to become less obvious and turn into very thin white lines in 12-18 months.
15 Ways To Deal With Breast Reduction Scars
It might be tough to eliminate breast reduction scars completely, but there are actually plenty of ways to deal with them successfully. We have listed down 15 surefire tricks that would help you minimize the appearance of your scars to the highest extent:
1. Surgical Tape
It is the first thing that experienced surgeons recommend for reducing breast reduction scars. You need to keep this tape on your affected area only for the first few weeks in order to promote rapid healing.
2. Brown Paper Tape
A brown paper tape of 1-inch can be very much useful in improving the scars resulted from breast reduction surgery. Make sure that the tape is tightly placed on the scar to prevent it from being exposed. You may remove and reapply the tape if it gets loose.
Read Also – Tuberous Breast Correction Surgery
This is a permeable tape-shaped adhesive dressing that lets medicine go into the incisions and helps the scars heal fast. You have to keep the steri-strip on your breast reduction scars for one month or so.
4. Silicone Sheet
It has been found that breathable silicone sheets can cure scars caused by breast reduction surgery effectively by keeping them hydrated and making them softer over time. They also prevent itching, irritation, and bacterial infections. Make sure that you put these on always for a couple of months starting from 2-3 weeks after the surgery. However, you have to buy high-quality sheets from famous vendors instead of cheap quality products from local drugstores.
Silicone sheets can be of two distinct types. One can be thin plaster-like strips of multiple shapes that are washable and reusable, and the other comes with greater flexibility as you can use it several times a day just by spreading a runny substance on it before drying fast.
5. Silicone Gel Pad
There are certain other silicone-based products like silicone gel pad, which exerts enough pressure on the wounds and hastens their recovery. But it may take approximately 3 to 4 months to work and show the results.
6. Supportive Bra
You can also try out a good quality supportive bra in order to get rid of breast reduction scars. It limits the amount of pressure imparted on the wounds and helps them heal quickly.
7. Steroid Injection
If the scar resulted from your breast reduction surgery is old and adverse enough, opt for steroid injections. These can be extremely helpful in such unfavorable situations as the scars get filled with fresh tissue quickly.
8. Superficial Radiation Treatment
If your scar developed after breast reduction surgery is symptomatic, you might get benefited from superficial radiation treatment.
Read Also – How to Make Flat Breasts Look Bigger
9. Dermal Bra
You can also adopt certain ‘closure techniques’, which include the usage of the dermal bra. It remains hidden in an obscured place until the scar develops properly and then heals it bit by bit.
10. Scar Massaging
After using paper tape or silicone sheets for a couple of weeks, start massaging your scars gently for 10 minutes thrice every day. It prevents the thickening of the tissue due to collagen regeneration while keeping the incision soft and flat. (5)
11. Scar Management
Proper management of your breast reduction scars is extremely necessary as it can accelerate the healing process. Be careful so that the wounds remain protected from excessive tension as well as the harmful rays of the sun.
12. Scar Revision Surgery
If the first surgery of breast reduction gives you an ugly scar and none of the above methods work for you, give the scar revision surgery a try. It might turn out helpful for you.
As there is no ‘scar-less’ breast reduction surgery, you can switch to liposuction for reducing your breasts and have minimal scars on it. However, your breasts will sag to some extent in this process.
It is said that ‘time is the best healer’. So, be patient and give your breast reduction scars adequate time to heal.
15. Experienced Surgeon
Prevention is always better than cure. So, take advice from a certified professional while thinking of undergoing a breast reduction surgery. Only an experienced plastic surgeon can guide you through the entire process so that you do not develop too many scars.
Other Ways to Eliminate Breast Reduction Scars
Some other methods used for the elimination of breast reduction scars include topical bleaching medications, chemical peels, tissue expansion, laser therapy, etc. Though the surgical procedure for scar removal can also be an option, it may leave a new scar in place of the previous ones while making it smaller, finer, and less visible.
Scarring is an inevitable part of breast reduction surgery. The size and extent of these scars usually depend on the technique followed by the surgeon during the surgical procedure. While these breast reduction scars cannot be eliminated completely, they can be made less noticeable by following a few simple approaches.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Are Breast Reduction Scars Visible?
Breast reduction scars are visible neither in regular clothing nor in a bikini top or bra. Only if you are in minimal clothing after an anchor breast reduction, some scarring might be visible.
How Bad are Scars from Breast Reduction?
It depends completely on the type of incision made by the surgeon and hence, usually varies from one person to another. In some women, it may remain very much visible even after trying a lot of scar removal methods.
Do Breasts Sag after Breast Reduction?
Yes, breasts may sag even after going through breast reduction surgery. However, it will not be as severe as it was before the procedure. Pregnancy can also impact the shape, size, and appearance of your breasts after a reduction.
How Long Does It Take to Recover from Breast Reduction Surgery?
The recovery time for breast reduction surgery can be anywhere between 2 weeks and 6 weeks depending on the type and extent of the surgery.
How Many Cup Sizes can You Go Down with Breast Reduction?
Most breast reduction can help you go down 1 or 2 cup sizes. Consult your doctor to know whether you can go down even more or not.
- “Breast Reduction Guide“, AmericanBoardCosmeticSurgery.org
- “Short-Scar Breast Reduction: Why All the Fuss?“, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- “Breast Reduction: What to Expect from Scarring?“, Healthline.com
- “The Role of Topical Vitamin E in Scar Management: A Systematic Review“, academic.oup.com
- “Managing Your Scar“, moffitt.org