Understanding Breast Lift Scars
Any surgery—medical or cosmetic—that requires cutting the skin is going to leave a scar. The scar's size will depend on the length of the incision that must be made, which will depend on the procedure being performed. When you have a breast lift (also called a mastopexy), you will be left with vertical scars that extend from the bottom of your areola to the inframammary fold, the area where your breast meets your chest.
The good news is, both you and your surgeon can do a few things to try to minimize your breast lift scars. While you won't be able to avoid them completely, with a little effort, you may be able to reduce the severity and visibility of your scars.
How Breast Lift Scars are Minimized During Surgery
Usually, medically necessary surgery dictates where incisions must be made, and it's sometimes difficult to place those incisions where visibility is reduced. In addition, because medical surgery is performed to improve your health—or possibly even save your life—the surgeon's focus will be on the primary purpose of the procedure rather than the cosmetic aspects. This may mean closing the incision in one layer, or using staples, which themselves cause scars in addition to the incision.
Because cosmetic surgery is elective, your surgeon usually has a little more leeway in where incisions can be made. For example, making the incision in a natural skin crease or fold can often minimize a scar's appearance.
Your surgeon will also use a suturing technique that closes the wound in layers, thereby evenly distributing the tension on the tissues, and reducing the amount of pull on the overlying skin. This means the topmost layer of skin can be sutured in a straight, smooth line, further reducing the visibility of the breast lift scars.
Suturing the breast tissue in layers also provides more support to counter lost elasticity, and help maintain breast lift results for a longer period of time.
It's important to note that some cosmetic surgery scars will only be visible when you're undressed. This is true of breast lift scars. Because they will be located on the bottom portion of your breasts, they will most often be covered by your clothing, bra, or swimsuit. Only you, your doctor, and anyone with whom you're intimate will ever see your breast lift scars.
To get an idea of the potential results (your results may differ), take a look at our breast lift before and after photos.
How to Further Minimize Your Breast Lift Scars
Regardless of their being hidden most of the time, you may still want to minimize your breast lift scars as much as possible to feel more comfortable with yourself.
Six weeks after your mastopexy, you can begin using scar treatment products, including, but not limited to:
Silicone – At TCC, we use self-adhesive silicone strips to reduce surgical scars. They are effective even for scars as old as 20 years.
Cortisone – If you develop a keloid scar, cortisone injections made directly into the scar can break down the hard, fibrous tissue. This will help to flatten and soften the scar. You may need several injections, spaced four to six weeks apart, depending on how well this steroid therapy works for you.
Please note that TCC does not provide cortisone injections.
Hydroquinone – This is a depigmenting agent that inhibits melanin production, which can increase while the skin is healing from an incision. Left unchecked, it could make the skin around the breast lift scars darker, thereby making the scar more visible.
A 4% hydroquinone cream can be especially helpful if you have a darker complexion, and may be prone to hyperpigmentation. Applying the cream to the scar on a daily basis can help reduce pigmentation irregularities that can result from scar development.
After six weeks, you can also begin manual manipulation of the area.
Massage – By massaging the scar, you can soften it and prevent further hardening. Using your fingers, apply firm pressure to the scar, and massage it in a circular motion a few times a day. You may do this for up to one year, if necessary.
Six months after your surgery, you can pursue laser scar removal.
Laser – If your breast lift scars develop into depressed scars (rather than raised or bumpy), TCC can address it with our non-ablative (non-wounding) fractional laser resurfacing treatment. Feel free to ask about this during your consultation before your breast lift surgery.