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Breast Reduction Scars

Breast reduction scars

Medically reviewed by Mr. Omar Tillo MD, MS, EBOPRAS, FRCS (Plast)

A breast reduction can bring enormous medical and aesthetic benefits. It can relieve troublesome back pain and reshape the breasts, often boosting the patient’s quality of life dramatically. Nevertheless, undergoing a breast reduction operation is a deeply personal decision worthy of significant consideration.

Reading through this guide you will find all the information you need to get a clear picture of what scarring to expect after your breast reduction operation so as to make an informed decision about the best route to take.

Does Breast Reduction Cause Scarring?

As with all surgeries, some scarring after a breast reduction is inevitable. However, the shape, visibility, and recovery time of scars can differ depending on the technique used by the surgeon, as well as how you care for the scars post operation.

What Do Breast Reduction Scars Look Like?

The appearance of scars from a breast reduction depends greatly on the techniques used by your surgeon. It is important to choose the most skilled and experienced surgeon who will work with you to create a bespoke cosmetic surgery plan to achieve an optimal result while minimising scarring and discomfort. 

In general, the scar(s) resulting from the cosmetic surgery will initially appear as a fine, pink line, but this will fade over time. The line will begin to relax and flatten over the recovery period, finally settling as a thin white line.

Generally, these lines will follow the outside edge of the areola, sometimes extending in a straight line down to the breast crease, although some procedures may also require a small, additional incision across the line of the breast crease.

Factors that Impact Scars

There are many elements that will have an impact on the size and visibility of breast reduction scars, all of which require careful consideration before a personalised cosmetic surgery plan is formed.

  • Losing weight before the surgery can reduce the possibility of delayed wound healing or infection, both of which can potentially worsen scars.
  • Your age can also play a significant role in determining the appearance of scars from a breast reduction, as older skin heals more slowly and creates longer recovery periods. 
  • Skin tone, on the other hand, can influence scar visibility, with darker skin sometimes contrasting more sharply with the pale shade of a mature scar.

Technique

The exact surgical techniques used during your breast reduction will be chosen based on your specific needs; larger reductions may require more incisions and, therefore, more scarring. There are two main techniques used in breast reduction:

Short-Scar Technique

The first “short scar” technique, the circular incision, simply requires an incision around the areola (the small circular area around the nipple). This is suitable for patients who require smaller reductions that are minimally invasive. 

Secondly, there is the “lollipop”, or keyhole incision, which involves an incision around the areola that follows vertically down to the breast crease, creating the lollipop shape from which it takes its name. This method can be used to remove larger amounts of tissue and fat from the breast, creating the desired reduction or realignment. 

Larger-Scar Technique

The larger scar technique is similar to the lollipop technique but requires one additional incision along the breast crease. This is often referred to as an “anchor-shaped”, or “inverted T” incision. The additional incision naturally results in an additional scar, but this technique may be necessary for those looking to make a more significant reduction in breast size and shape.

Smoking

You will be asked to avoid smoking in the 4 weeks following your breast reduction, and resuming smoking after this period is not advisable. Smoking can impede healing, increasing the risk of more visible scars that take longer to heal. 

Tanning

One of the many factors that influence the appearance of breast reduction scars is their exposure to the sun. Fresh scar tissue can darken more than the skin around it under UV rays, leading to more noticeable scars. 

Part of your operation recovery plan should include avoiding exposure of the scars to UV rays over the first year and making sure to apply high-factor sunscreen (factor 30+) when necessary. 

Scratching

Itchiness is a part of any recovery from surgery, but it is important to resist the temptation to scratch, as this runs the risk of contaminating the wound or causing it to reopen. 

This part of recovery is managed with careful consultation from your surgeon, which may include the use of ice or antihistamines to keep the itching at bay. Scratching wounds can result in more visible scarring, so mitigating these normal postoperative side effects is vital.

How Long Does Breast Reduction Scars Last?

Scars from a breast reduction surgery will most likely never disappear completely. Initially, the scars will appear red and discoloured, but this redness should calm down after the first six weeks. Over the next 18 months, your scars should begin to heal into thin, white lines. 

Breast Reduction Scars Over Time

By following postoperative care procedures, breast reduction scars can become less and less visible as time passes. 

Avoiding scratching, smoking, and overexertion in the initial stages is crucial to giving the wounds the best possible start in their journey to recovery and softening the appearance of scars in the long term.

Is Breast Reduction Worth It?

For women who have struggled with the aesthetic and medical issues associated with disproportionately large breasts, a reduction surgery can be a life-changing, invaluable decision. 

The pros of breast reduction are not just the alleviation of painful physical symptoms but also the improvement of self-image and mental well-being. 

In collaboration with the right surgeon, breast reduction can be immensely rewarding, opening up a host of new possibilities in your life. 

Schedule a Consultation with CREO Clinic

If you are thinking of undergoing breast reduction surgery, book a consultation with Dr. Omar Tillo, the CREO Clinic’s double board-certified surgeon.

Dr Tillo is an expert at carefully creating a tailor-made treatment plan to reshape your breasts. With his vast experience in breast reduction operations, he can help you achieve the natural-looking results that you deserve.

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