When we see patients for breast reduction surgery, there’s one thing that most of them have in common: Copious amounts of questions.
And that’s great.
We love questions when it comes to cosmetic surgery. When patients ask lots of them, it means they’re serious about their health and want to get educated about the procedure(s) they’re considering. These patients tend to have superior outcomes after their breast reduction surgeries. They’ve put in the time, and it shows!
When it comes to breast reduction surgery, we’ve noticed that questions often revolve around scarring. After all, breast reduction scars are the only major drawback to this procedure. Incisions are definitely a big part of the process, and that just means that the scars can’t be avoided. Still, you can help to fade them.
The top questions we receive include:
- What does a breast look like after reduction?
- What should breast reduction scars look like?
- Is there such a thing as a scarless breast reduction?
- How long does it take for breast reduction scars to flatten?
- Are breast reduction scars permanent?
- Do breasts grow back after reduction and what happens to the scars?
- Can I do anything to prevent or treat breast reduction scarring?
These are all fabulous inquiries regarding breast reduction procedures, and we can answer them in detail at your consultation. For now, let’s briefly go over the basics of each one and then offer some tips on how you can safely reduce the appearance of your scars after surgery.
What does a breast look like after reduction? What should breast reduction scars look like?
First off — breast reduction scars initially look like bright pink or red lines. All breast reductions (aside from liposuction only) require an incision to be made around the areola. Then, another incision is made on the lower half of the breast, right down the middle, from the nipple to the lower breast crease (lollipop breast reduction). Sometimes, a third incision is made along the breast crease (anchor breast reduction).
With each of these incisions, you’ll have a thin pink or red line at the beginning, which will be raised. Over time, this will flatten and fade. If the scar does not fade, this may be the result of sun exposure during the healing process (don’t let your scars be exposed to the sun).
If the scar does not flatten, you may not scar well. Or, you could be someone who’s prone to developing keloids (thick raised scars) after being cut. This is not uncommon with breast reduction scars on black skin or brown skin, and we can discuss options for this situation as we move forward with your surgery.
How long does it take for breast reduction scars to flatten?
Breast reduction scars typically flatten after several months. It may take up to six months and even a year or more for scars to totally flatten and fade.
Do breasts grow back after reduction and what happens to the scars?
Unless you gain a significant amount of weight after surgery, you should not experience a regrowth of breast tissue after breast reduction. If you do, however, gain over, say 15 to 20 lbs, this may add volume to your breasts in the form of fat, and that may distort your reduction scars and mar your overall results.
Can I do anything to prevent or treat scarring?
Finally, if you want to treat your breast reduction scars to help minimize their appearance, here are five proven cosmetic surgery scar tips:
1. Keep your scars out of the sun.
New scars have a tendency to worsen when they are exposed to UV (ultraviolet) light via direct sunlight. This means that you need to keep your scars out of the sun as they are healing. Ideally, you’ll keep your scars out of the sun all the time. But it’s especially critical in the months right after your surgery.
Even when you’re wearing clothing over your scars, you should be extra cautious to protect them because the sun can still make scarring worse through clothes. This means you’ll need to wear sunscreen over your incision site (sites) even beneath your clothes when you’re outside or exposed to UV light.
2. Utilize the power of silicone.
Silicone scar gels have an amazing power to soften, smooth, and lighten scars. There are numerous silicone scar treatments on the market today. Choose the one that works best for you.
Two common options are silicone scar gels or serums and silicone sheets. The creams need to be gently massaged onto your scars twice a day (in most cases). Be sure that you are consistent with this. If you don’t massage the silicone in regularly, you won’t get the results you desire.
The same goes for the silicone get sheet option. These sheets are worn similar to Band-Aids over your scars. They need to be worn nearly all day long for several months. The only time you would take them off would be to shower. Silicone sheets come in all shapes and sizes, or you can buy a large sheet and cut it down to the size and shape you need.
3. Discuss scar massage with your surgeon.
After surgery, you can discuss deep tissue scar massage with Dr. Smita. There are ways to gently massage your scars to help them lay flatter and not develop lumpy or bumpy scar tissue beneath the surface of the skin.
This needs to be done gently, consistently, and only once the scars have initially finished healing. There must be no risk of reopening your incisions, so some scar tissue must already be present.
4. Consider laser therapy for scars.
Laser treatments are another option for helping scars fade after a breast reduction procedure.
With the use of microscopic lasers, this innovative therapy can help scars lay flatter against the skin and can also help them fade nicely. Often, people think that laser therapy for scars is only used when scars have already gotten quite bad. In some cases, laser therapy can help with this, but more often than not, laser therapy is used to prevent lumpy or highly-pigmented scars from occurring in the first place.
5. Discuss steroid injections or scar revision surgery if necessary.
Finally, if your breast reduction scars have indeed become particularly noticeable and you haven’t employed the tips above or they simply haven’t worked for you, steroid injections may be able to help. These injections are often performed by plastic surgeons. Some estheticians and dermatologists may also use them to reduce the appearance of scars.
In rare cases, you may consider scar removal and/or improvement via scar revision surgery. Scar revision is often most helpful for patients with darker skin who may have developed keloid or hypertrophic scars (scarred breast tissue that becomes thick and raised). Treatment options will vary depending on the circumstances of each patient. Also, remember that revision of scars does not mean scars will completely disappear after surgery, but they should gradually fade.
Set up a Consultation to Discuss Breast Reduction
Undergoing breast reduction surgery can be a daunting experience, so it’s important to choose the right surgeon who will perform the procedure expertly and help you during the healing process. Dr. Smita R. Ramanadham is a female double board-certified plastic surgeon, performing breast reduction surgery for patients throughout the New Jersey, New York City, and Tri-state areas.
Dr. Smita’s significant plastic surgery experience, extensive surgical technique training, and precise touch make her the ideal plastic surgeon for the delicate surgery that is breast reduction. After surgery, she can help you with scar management to minimize breast reduction scars.
To discuss this or any other cosmetic surgery procedures you are considering, contact our office today to set up a consultation appointment with Dr. Ramanadham. We look forward to hearing from you!