It’s a fact of life: all surgery leaves scars, whether the procedure is cosmetic or medically necessary. But just because the scars are there doesn’t mean they’ll look bad. Whether or not the scars are easy to see is what’s really key. Scar visibility depends on a few factors, including the placement of the incision and how your body heals after surgery. Breast surgery scars can be located in several different areas, depending on the type of surgery you have and your surgeon’s techniques.
While you can’t avoid scarring after breast surgery, you shouldn’t let concerns about a scar prevent you from moving forward.
Where Are Breast Surgery Scars Located?
Where breast surgery scars end up depends on several factors. First is the type of surgery you choose to have. The scars from breast reduction, for example, are usually in a different spot than scars from breast augmentation.
The second factor that influences scar location is the incision placement. Generally speaking, during a breast reduction or a breast lift, the surgeon will make what’s called an inverted T incision. This type of incision goes around the nipple, down the middle of the breast and then horizontally under the breasts.
The inverted T incision can also be used during breast augmentation. Alternatively, your surgeon might make an incision in the armpits or under the breasts. A rarer incision is one that runs up to the breasts from the belly button.
No matter where the scars are located, one thing remains the same. The scars won’t be visible to anyone whenever you are fully clothed. In some cases, the scars will be concealed well enough that they might not be noticeable even when you’re wearing a sleeveless top or low-cut shirt.
What Affects Scarring?
Some people develop more visible scarring than others, for a range of reasons. Your age, your genetics and your skin type can all influence the way the scars look in the long run. For example, people with darker complexions are more prone to keloid scars, which are scars that grow beyond the border of the incision. People with lighter complexions might have more of a contrast between the color of the scar and their skin color, making them more visible.
If you’ve spent years sunning yourself, you might be more likely to develop more visible scars after surgery compared to someone with limited sun damage. How elastic the skin is also affects the appearance and visibility of breast surgery scars.
How to Minimize Breast Surgery Scars — Prep Before Surgery
In the weeks before your breast surgery, your surgeon will likely recommend that you avoid certain activities or habits. Some habits can interfere with your skin’s ability to heal, making scarring worse.
For example, it’s important to quit smoking or using other types of tobacco products a few weeks before and after breast surgery. Nicotine limits blood flow and blood flow is crucial for proper healing.
You might also need to avoid certain types of medications and supplements before breast surgery. For example, some types of pain relievers, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, can increase bleeding, which can in turn affect scarring. Your surgeon will let you know what medicines and supplements should be avoided.
How to Minimize Breast Surgery Scars — After Surgery
After you’ve had surgery, there are a few things you can do to treat the scars and minimize their appearance. Some people have had success applying silicone sheets to scars, especially to thick, pink scars. Massaging the scar or applying vitamin E to it can also help to minimize its appearance. It’s worth noting that you should wait a few weeks after surgery after the incision has healed, before you try massaging the scar or applying vitamin E. Ask your surgeon for advice.
Breast Surgery Scars Do Fade
Right after your surgery, don’t be alarmed if your scars are bright red and angry-looking. They will fade over time as your body heals. Usually, the scars will fade to thin, barely visible lines within six months of the procedure. It’s also worth noting that the careful placement of the scars, usually within a crease, will help them be less noticeable too.
If you’re concerned about breast surgery scars, it’s worth discussing your concerns with a plastic surgeon who specializes in breast procedures. Dr. Paul Vitenas, a board-certified plastic surgeon in Houston, Texas, offers patients a variety of options when it comes to breast surgery and incision location. He can help you better understand why an incision placement will work for you and what you can do to keep scarring to a minimum after your surgery. Call 281-484-0088 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Vitenas today.