The majority of patients heal well with good scars after a breast reduction. However, some patients may experience noticeable scarring following reduction mammoplasty. A good plastic surgeon will use many surgical techniques and methods during the breast reduction operation to ensure minimal and neat scarring. In this blog I’ll provide you with helpful tips to help you minimise scarring post surgery.
What will happen to the breast scar in the first few months?
Scars are an inevitable outcome of a surgical operation and are formed soon after the incision has healed, they take a good 12 to 18 months to mature. Typically scars are raised, hard and red for the first 12 weeks as generous amounts of collagen are deposited and blood vessels begin growing into the scar. Since the body is unable to accurately estimate how much is required, it lays a lot of collagen for the first 3 months. Over the next 12 months, the body removes what it does not need and the scar softens, reduces in size and gradually changes colour to become paler.
Most plastic surgeons recommend using surgical tape or strips for the initial few weeks and gradually progressing to silicone sheets or silicone scar gel. Topically applied silicone gel or silicone sheets, are quite helpful in minimising scarring if used continuously for the first 3 – 4 months.
Some surgeons suggest gentle massaging of the scars with moisturising cream after two weeks of the procedure to soften the site. As a result, scars soften and fade over time.
What works well in reducing the appearance of scars after having breast reduction?
- Pressure: The application of pressure on a scar can prove quite effective in reducing scarring following the procedure. You can use paper tape (micropore) or a silicone gel pad to apply even pressure on the scars.
- Topical micropore tape: This works great and is easy to apply and user friendly for patients as it does not require much care. The tape needs to be changed once every week or earlier if it gets dirty. You can bathe or shower with the micropore tape. Since it is paper, it will get wet. You can gently blow dry it if necessary. More importantly it acts as a barrier and avoids friction between the scar and clothing.
- A good supportive bra: This is also known to be quite effective in reducing scars because it reduces wound tension that can improve scar formation.
- Topical silicone sheets and gels: The surgeon will prescribe them depending on the scar. The gel should be applied twice a day for 3 months. The silicone sheet should remain in contact with the scar for 3- 4 months for best results.
- Steroid injections: These work well in the case of either hypertrophic or keloid scars. More than one injection may be required.
- Avoiding the sun: Doctors advise protecting the incisions from the sun to avoid pigmentation issues with scars. You can use an SPF lotion or cover the scar carefully with proper clothing to avoid direct sun.
Some women prefer to opt for vertical scar or short scar breast reduction - known to produce minimum scarring. However, if you have undergone inverted T pattern, scar treatment should be initiated early. If scar reduction attempts haven’t worked well, surgical scar revision may be the most appropriate option. These days, a number of newer laser techniques claim to significantly improve the colour and appearance of scars. However, it is not known whether laser is necessary for all scars. Time is a critical factor in healing. If you remain patient and follow your plastic surgeon’s recommendations, the scars will improve with the passage of time.
If you have any questions related to breast reduction, and live in Sydney, I invite you to attend one of my free Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery information evenings. They usually run once every two months in either my Bondi Junction or Bella Vista practices. This is perfect for people who are not yet ready to commit to a one on one consultation but have some questions they’d like answered by a certified plastic surgeon. Come along and ask me questions directly in a friendly, small group setting. Click on the button below to learn more and register for your seat.