Breast Reduction Scars
As with any surgical procedure, you will experience some degree of scarring after breast reduction surgery. However, our patients typically find that their post-operative scars are a small side effect compared to the significant improvement they experience from achieving a lighter, more proportionate breast size. Over the course of the first year, your surgical incisions will continue to heal, though most of this will occur within the first three months.
Our breast reduction surgeon, Dr. Neil J. Zemmel, takes great care to provide natural-looking outcomes. This includes using meticulous surgical skill to minimize trauma to the skin and breast tissue, leading to as minimal of scarring as possible. In addition, our team will help you understand what to expect in your recovery after breast reduction, advising you on proper wound care to ensure your scars heal properly.
- Breast Reduction Scar Location
- Scars Appearance After Breast Reduction
- Scarless Breast Reduction Technique
- Are Breast Reduction Scars Permanent?
- Tips for Minimizing Breast Reduction Scars
- How to Massage Breast Reduction Scars
Where Are the Scars from Breast Reduction?
The location of your scars will ultimately depend on the surgical technique used during your breast reduction procedure.
In a vertical breast reduction, your scars will resemble a lollipop shape, following the round outline of your areola and extending downwards in a single line. The wise pattern technique is similar but with the addition of a line hidden in the crease underneath the breast. Should you be a candidate for liposuction alone, this only requires small incisions, allowing for especially subtle scarring; however, liposuction may be performed in conjunction with another technique, producing further scarring.
How Noticeable Is Breast Reduction Scarring?
The appearance of breast reduction scars varies based on each patient’s ability to heal, as well as factors like their skin tone, the technique used, and their dedication to post-op wound care. Fortunately, your scars should gradually fade with time. Over the first year, they should become less noticeable, reducing to thin, flat lines that can typically be well-concealed beneath a bra or bikini top.
To see how other patients’ scars have looked after their initial recovery, visit our patient gallery for before and after breast reduction pictures. For tips on how to reduce your scars after surgery, follow the guidelines provided by Dr. Zemmel below.
What Is a Scarless Breast Reduction?
Although scars are unavoidable after breast reduction surgery, some patients may be good candidates for surgery using only liposuction, which is often referred to as a “scarless” breast reduction. Unlike other reduction techniques that involve incisions around the areola and often down to the inframammary fold, liposuction only requires small 2 or 3mm incisions through which the small cannulas are inserted. This technique is especially common in male breast reduction surgeries.
A scarless breast reduction may be appropriate if you have minimal breast sagging, do not require a lift, and your nipple and areola are at the desired level. You will be evaluated for whether you are a good candidate for a liposuction-based reduction during your personal consultation with Dr. Zemmel.
Are Breast Reduction Scars Permanent?
Any procedure that involves surgical incisions will lead to some degree of scar tissue, which does not completely disappear. However, the appearance of breast reduction scars should gradually lighten in color and become flatter and softer. With time you can expect your scars to become less noticeable, especially if you practice good wound care after your reduction surgery.
How Can I Minimize Breast Reduction Scars?
Although you cannot completely prevent scars from occurring after breast reduction surgery, there are certain best practices you can adopt to minimize their appearance, such as:
- Try to limit weight gain during your recovery, which can lead to scar widening
- Refrain from smoking and other tobacco products, since these can impede healing
- Reduce stress as much as possible, as this can negatively impact your ability to heal
- Avoid direct sunlight or UV rays from tanning beds, which can cause scars to darken
- Follow proper wound care instructions to minimize the risk of infection
Most importantly, you should follow all post-operative instructions from your surgeon to ensure you are taking optimal care of your incisions. This includes attending follow-up appointments that allow your surgeon to monitor your healing.
How Do I Massage My Breast Reduction Scars?
To further help with diminishing your scar appearance after breast reduction surgery, you may want to try gentle massage. By lightly massaging the scar with your fingertips—going vertically, horizontally, and in circles—you can help to prevent collagen buildup that leads to a raised scar, as well as keep the tissue flexible and soft. Scar massage after reduction surgery should only be performed after the initial healing period; it is typically recommended to wait about two weeks after surgery.
If you are not happy with the appearance of your breast reduction scars after they have had the chance to fully heal, Dr. Zemmel may recommend non-surgical treatments, such as laser scar removal, to lighten them and minimize their overall appearance. Should you develop more significant and/or raised scarring, he may recommend scar revision surgery as an effective treatment method.