Does a Breast Lift Leave Scars?
As with any surgery, a breast lift or mastopexy involves incisions in your skin, and all incisions present some risk of scarring, no matter how small. While you won’t be able to avoid scars completely, there are some very effective ways to minimize their appearance.
Thankfully, there are ways to minimize your scarring. Working with an experienced surgeon, for example, can ultimately reduce your risk of complications known to cause scarring. They can also teach you the best practices for treating your skin post-op.
For instance, avoiding heavy lifting for 6 weeks post-op, and stopping yourself from scratching or excessively exfoliating can prevent scarring. Additionally, quitting smoking at least a month pre-surgery can reduce complications, including scarring. Finally, scars may become more noticeable if they’re exposed directly to the sun, so be sure to wear sunscreen!
Why Do Scars Form?
The body repairs skin by creating new collagen fibers. The scarring that occurs, as a result, will give the healed area its unique look and texture, different from surrounding areas. The scarred skin will likely be less flexible, with no hair follicles present in some cases. While scarring may cause you frustration, it is entirely normal.
Who Tends to Scar Most from Breast Lift Surgery?
The amount of scarring that forms hinges upon many factors:
- Age: your skin loses elasticity and can heal slower.
- Skin color: those with very white or very dark skin are more prone to visible scarring.
- Lifestyle habits: Smoking or sun damage can cause scarring.
- Complications: Extreme swelling or infection can boost the chance of visible scarring.
- Genetics: Healing time and scars can be affected by your genetics.
What Does Mastopexy Scarring Look Like?
Mastopexy or breast lift scars are usually thin and extend vertically from the bottom of the areola to the inframammary fold (where your breast meets your chest). Shortly post-op, you may see a raised, red line along the edges of your incision. Scars tend to be more visible in people with extremely dark or light skin, or those directly in contact with the sun.
You will have a small incision that runs halfway across your areola with the crescent lift. This is best for women with minimal sagging and no excess breast tissue after having children or recent weight loss. This procedure is typically performed on those undergoing breast augmentation.
Women with more moderate sagging might be suited for a donut lift. Only one incision is made, in a circle around the areola, so the scarring is relatively minimized. If you’re looking to have a breast augmentation with periareolar lifting, donut lifts can be done simultaneously. They also help to reduce the size of areolas.
A lollipop lift, sometimes referred to as a vertical lift, is meant for those who want to reshape the breast while correcting any sag. Your surgeon will make two incisions in each breast. The first is made from the bottom of the areola to the crease below the breast. The second incision is made around the areola. This is the most common technique used for a breast lift.
The anchor lift is a great choice for those who have significant sagging and yields a fantastic transformation. However, this procedure involves the most scarring. An incision is made around the areola, then straight down the center of the breast, finishing on the crease underneath the breast.
Will Your Breast Lift Scars Go Away?
Your scars will change and evolve as you heal. With proper care, they should continue to flatten out over time!
Minimizing the Appearance of Your Breast Lift Scars
If you’re already post-op and seeking ways to conceal your scars—besides wearing a cute top or bikini—consider the following methods:
By 6 weeks post mastopexy, you can start using self-adhesive silicone strips, which work to reduce surgical scars effectively. Silicone can even work on scars as old as 20 years.
If you develop a keloid scar, a series of cortisone injections can be made directly into the scar to break down its hard, fibrous tissue, which can help to flatten and soften it.
Melanin production can increase while your skin is healing. Daily application of hydroquinone cream can prevent the darkening of the skin around your scar.
Massaging your scar can prevent hardening. Use your fingers to apply firm pressure and massage in circular motions a few times a day for up to a year.
5) Laser Scar Removal
By 6 months post-surgery, if your scars develop into depressed scars (rather than raised), you can pursue a fractional laser resurfacing treatment. Feel free to ask about this during your consultation!
Things to Do to Limit Scars from Breast Lift
While you can’t avoid breast lift scars completely, there are a few steps that can help limit excessive breast scarring.
1) Wear Your Support Garment
Once a surgeon has performed the breast lift, they will give instructions regarding how long the surgical bra must be worn. The average patient wears it for six weeks, but this can be longer if deemed necessary.
2) Apply Silicone Treatments
Silicone treatments are a great way to help your scar heal and feel more comfortable. The material prevents the inflammation of scars and acts like breathable skin, so the area does not get sweaty or irritated. If this is a part of your post-op recovery plan, you typically begin applying silicone treatments after the wound has fully healed after 2-3 weeks.
3) Use Creams
Ask your surgeon to recommend any creams that may be helpful to your recovery. These may include anti-bacterial or softening cream.
4) Massage the Area
Once scabbing has disappeared on its own, some doctors recommend that you gently massage the area to help soften and flatten the scar. As scars are made up of collagen knitted together to heal an open wound, massaging can help distribute the collagen. The pressure can also increase blood flow to the skin, which can help speed up the healing process.
5) Eat Healthy
When the right vitamins and nutrients are in your body, it can create new tissue to help heal faster. Ask your surgeon about any nutrition tips that could benefit your recovery.
6) Sleep Properly
To prevent excessive swelling and alleviate additional pressure on your breasts, you should sleep with your torso propped up for the first two weeks after your breast lift.
7) Avoid Alcohol and Smoking
Alcohol can affect fluid retention. You shouldn’t consume alcohol for roughly three weeks after your procedure.
If you are a smoker, the effects of smoking can interfere with and complicate healing. Talk with your doctor to learn more about the options available to help you quit smoking.
8) Drink More Water
Staying hydrated helps the elasticity of your skin and the healing process post breast lift. When you are dehydrated, the wound will not receive ample oxygen and nutrients to heal.
Breast Surgery Healing Time
Naturally, the healing time for breast lift scars varies. Generally, scars often look the reddest at 2-3 months but should fade to a pale purple in 8 – 12 months.
Remember, the size and severity of your scar will depend on numerous elements, such as your health and body type. Make sure you discuss these concerns with the surgeon before your procedure.
Other Non-Surgical Method to Reduce Scarring
Many non-surgical skin care procedures can help reduce the appearance of scarring. These treatments typically don’t result in new scars, but they may make your complexion more sensitive to sunlight, leading to hyperpigmentation. Speak with one of our dermatologists about options such as:
- chemical peels
- laser therapy
Importance for Choosing an Experienced Breast Surgeon
Getting a breast lift will likely lead to some scarring, but the best prevention is to find a reputable, experienced surgeon. To learn more about mastopexy options in Tampa, Florida, Contact Egozi Plastic Surgery Center today to schedule a consultation!