People with overly large breasts can suffer from avoidable health issues such as back issues, headaches, and rashes. They can also have difficulty engaging in certain activities and sports. Having a Breast Reduction can often improve the quality of life and help with these issues. Breast reduction involves a surgical procedure to remove tissue, but the procedure also leaves scars.
Understanding Breast Reduction Scars
If you are considering breast reduction surgery, it’s essential to go into it with your eyes open. Of course, you will have a consultation with a surgeon at a clinic first, who will tell you everything you need to know about the procedure and the aftercare. However, preparing for the consultation is still a good idea, and this article gives you a good overview of what to expect.
What are Breast Reduction Scars?
In some ways, breast reduction is the reverse process of breast augmentation. A surgeon makes an incision in the breasts and removes some fatty tissue to resize the breasts. As with breast enlargement, breast reduction surgery leaves a scar on the breasts that fades.
The type of scarring you have following breast reduction depends on the surgical techniques. It’s worth speaking to your surgeon about these techniques and the type of scarring you can expect. The type of scarring will also depend on the breast reduction (1) you need.
The Most Common Types of Breast Reduction Scars
Breast reduction surgery can improve someone’s health and life quality by reducing stress on the back and making everyday life more comfortable. Breast reduction can also allow people to take part in activities and sports. Typically there are two options for breast reduction, shorter-scar techniques and larger-scar techniques, for different forms of breast reduction.
Shorter-scar techniques reduce the incision size on the breasts and prevent scarring. A few variations of the shorter scar technique; include the doughnut, lollipop, anchor, and crescent. A doughnut incision is around the areola; a lollipop is vertical from the nipple; an anchor is vertical and horizontal; and a crescent is on the top of the areola.
People with a-symmetrical or sagging breasts might require a more extensive scar technique to restore balance. Larger scar techniques involve incisions around the areola and vertical and horizontal incisions, allowing the surgeon more access to the breast tissue. The surgeon then repositions the nipple to a higher position, extracts excess breast tissue, and seals the incisions.
What Do Breast Reduction Scars Look and Feel Like?
Regardless of the breast reduction surgery, scarring is highly likely. An incision is needed to remove excess breast tissue unless liposuction is used. When the incisions are closed and stitched by the surgeon, it heals into a raised or darker line.
Breast reduction scars are surgical lines made inconspicuously. Thanks to the location of the scars, they should not be visible in a bra or bikini top, but they might be visible in minimal clothing where they show along the bra line. Most scars fade with time, but they don’t disappear.
There might be pain and discomfort following breast reduction surgery for two to three weeks. The type of pain you experience often depends on the body’s reaction to the surgery, some people might feel fine, but it’s worth preparing for some pain relief post-surgery.
Along with pain, people might feel some pulling and stretching in the breast areas as the breast tissue adjusts. The breasts can also feel firmer than usual as the body produces scar tissue to replace the lost breast tissue. Dead fat cells will later be removed by the body restoring breasts.
Factors Affecting Breast Reduction Scarring
Breast reduction scars are carefully placed to avoid visibility; they will also fade with time. Breast scarring will be more visible in some people than others. Some factors determine how visible the scars are post-surgery; factors include age, genetics, and skin tone.
Body processes start to slow down as we age, affecting how breast scars heal after the surgery. The body’s inflammatory response might be slower in later life, affecting how the scarring fades. In short, older people undergoing surgery might have more noticeable scars.
Genetics might affect how the body processes your breast reduction scars. People have different inflammatory responses and immune responses, which are genetically determined.
Skin tone can affect the visibility of breast reduction scarring. People with darker skin have a higher chance of hyperpigmentation – when some parts of the skin are lighter than others. Those with darker skin tones are also more likely to experience keloid and hypertrophic scars.
How Do I Know What Type of Breast Reduction Scars I Will Have?
The breast reduction scars are determined by the type of surgery you have. Surgical scars are linear, curved, and circular. Depending on the type of surgery, you might have a combination of scar sizes and shapes. Breast scars also depend on the shape of the breast and reduction type.
During your initial consultation, you will talk to your surgeon about the specific type of breast reduction surgery. The surgeon will assess your breast and determine the type of incisions needed. Following this consultation, you will know the size and pattern of scarring you will have.
If you need short incisions, you can expect to have inconspicuous scars around the areola or short vertical scars from the areola to the crease of the breasts. Sometimes a short anchor incision is also needed; this will be a horizontal scar in a T-shape on the bottom of the breast.
If you need large incisions, you can expect more prominent scarring in similar patterns. For significantly larger breasts, this type of breast reduction can greatly enhance someone’s quality of life, but the trade-off is more extensive scarring. Talk to your surgeon about breast reduction scarring and healing.
Do Breast Reduction Scars Look Different or Change Over Time?
One thing you can guarantee in your breast reduction journey is change. Not only will your breast size change, and possibly the shape depending on the type of surgery, but the scarring will also change over time. After six weeks, you will be able to view the healing process; after six months, the scars will be covered with skin, and after a year, they will be close to your skin tone.
After Six Weeks
Chances are you will have surgical bandages on your scars for around six weeks to protect the site, preventing you from seeing the healing process. The surgical incisions will be stitched with dissolvable sutures following surgery, and the scar will be red or purple. After six weeks, removing the bandages and viewing the scars and the healing process should be safe.
After Six Months
After six months, you should live comfortably with a new size of breasts. At this point, there is no need for surgical bandages and the stitches will be fully dissolved. Skin will have grown over the scar after six months, but the scar will still be red and may be raised. The incision site might be lighter or darker than your natural skin tone, but this is also likely to change over time.
After One Year
You can expect the scar to blend more with your natural skin tone at the one-year mark. Your body is remodelling and integrating your new breast size at this stage. The scars may still be visible for some months or years; they might also be raised. However, after a year, the scars will be a more natural colour and less noticeable. The breasts should feel more normal at this point.
Managing and Reducing Breast Reduction Scars
There are options if you need breast reduction surgery but have scar tissue issues. Over time, the scarred tissue will fade and blend with your natural skin tone, but treatments can accelerate the process. Ointments, cryosurgery, and laser treatments are effective.
Creams and Ointments
Some creams and ointments can reduce the appearance of scars, especially in the early weeks and months after breast reduction surgery. Search for an ointment containing silicone or a silicone gel sheet placed on the scar tissue to reduce visibility. Vitamin E can also help.
Cryosurgery or cryotherapy is an effective way to reduce the visibility of scar tissue following breast reduction surgery. Cryotherapy uses special surgical instruments to freeze the scars and destroy some scar tissue, reducing the size and visibility of the scars integrating them.
Laser treatments are another effective way to reduce the visibility of scarring post-surgery. Laser surgery works by treating the scarred tissue with pulses of laser light. The laser light targets blood vessels in the scarring destroying the excess scar tissue. It’s also called laser resurfacing.
How Long Do Scars Last from Breast Reduction?
Breast reduction scars don’t disappear altogether but fade significantly and integrate with your natural skin tone. Breast scars can also change colour and size over time. After one year, the scars will be completely healed, but they will be noticeable and could be slightly red.
Shortly after breast reduction surgery, breast scars will be crimson or purple; they may also be raised and very noticeable. Breast scars will take at least one year to integrate with your skin, but it can be up to two years before they blend with your natural skin tones, but not completely.
When you choose breast reduction surgery, you can expect breast scare for life. However, the scars will fade, integrate, and normalise with every passing year. You can use cryosurgery or laser treatments to accelerate the process or assist in scar fading.
How to Reduce the Appearance of Breast Reduction Scars
It’s important to feel comfortable with your breasts, even if you choose reduction surgery for practical reasons. Unfortunately, scarring is normal in reduction surgery and needs to be managed, especially if you are uncomfortable with visible scarring. The good news is you can treat scars (3) using the techniques below. Consider silicone sheets, dressing, and laser treatment.
Silicone Sheets or Scar Gels
Silicone sheets and scar gels are an excellent way to reduce the appearance and visibility of breast scars. Silicone sheets are self-adhesive sheets with a silicone coating on one side, remove the adhesive tape and place the sheet on the scar. Silicone is an effective way to change the height, texture, and colour of scars, and it also helps with itching and discomfort.
Your scars will be dressed in the early days after your breast surgery, and you may need to wear a post-surgery bra for a few weeks. After around six weeks, the dressings can be removed, but the scars will remain and be visible.
Laser treatments target a specific area, destroying scarred tissue and damaged cells. People can use laser treatments at any time in the breast reduction recovery process to reduce the appearance of scars. Laser treatments also help with scar integration, which is important for healing, especially psychologically.
When you have the breast size you want, it can be tempting to dress down during the sunny season, but take care; the sun can aggravate scars, change their colour, and prevent them from naturally fading. Using a high-factor sunscreen can prevent the scars from changing colour in the sun and standing out. Avoid the sun in the early weeks and months of recovery.
Potential Benefits of Treating Breast Reduction Scars
Breast reduction scars are harmless. Although breast reduction scars are unavoidable, surgeons use careful incisions to minimise visibility. Still, some people feel uncomfortable with their breast reduction scars.
Treating breast-reduction scars with laser treatments, silicone sheets, dressings, and sunscreen can accelerate healing and integration. Changing the appearance and visibility of the scars can substantially affect the psychology and well-being of breast reduction patients.
Does Treatment Remove Breast Reduction Scars Work?
It’s not possible to altogether remove breast reduction scars. Breast reduction scars are inevitable and life-long, but the treatments effectively reduce the scars’ appearance and visibility. In this sense, the treatments are effective and offer some good results.
If you are unhappy with your breast reduction scars in the long term, the best way to treat them is with laser surgery. Laser surgery can change the pigmentation of the scarring – a little bit like tattoo revision – and create a more natural skin tone on a scarred area, and it can be very effective.
Risks or Complications of Treating Breast Reduction Scars
Treating breast reduction scars is an excellent idea, especially if you feel self-conscious about the signs of surgery. Risks and complications are often minimal and can be revised.
The main risks of breast reduction scar treatment are skin discolouration, meaning the scar tissue is more visible than before; scar regrowth meaning your scar tissue returns and becomes visible; along with peeling skin and hardened skin due to treatments such as laser surgery.
Comparing Breast Reduction Scars to Other Breast Surgery Scars
Any surgery on the breasts will leave scarring. The scarring is surgical lines from incisions needed to access the breast for lifts and reduction. These scars are the same no matter your breast surgery; however, breast reduction scarring (2) can be a little more extensive.
Although breast reduction scarring offers short and long scars, they usually need a T-shape incision from the areole to the bottom crease of the breasts. This T-shaped incision is unnecessary for other breast surgeries, like uplifts and augmentation, requiring only a single incision.
Choosing Your Surgeon for the best results
Choosing a qualified and experienced breast reduction surgeon for your breast reduction surgery is essential to ensure the best results. Start by researching the surgeons in your local clinics and hospitals; you can check their credentials online and whether they are registered with a quality care commission. Also, consider speaking to others who have used the surgeon.
Breast reduction scars are necessary to reduce the size of overly large breasts, but surgeons take measures to ensure they are inconspicuous. The scarring will be there forever, but over time it will fade to a natural skin tone. Treatments can also help to speed up the healing process and reduce the visibility of surgical scars. Discuss all options with the breast reduction surgeon.
(1) Healthline:- Face and body: a Quick Look at Breats Reduction Scarring
(2) National Library of Medicine: Unfavorable Results After Surgery
(3) Medical News Today: What to Know About Scars After Surgery