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Breast Lift Scars: Healing Paths, Scar Types, and Caring for Your Mark of Beauty

When considering a breast lift, it’s natural to have questions about scarring. While the potential for scars can deter some from undergoing the procedure, understanding the different surgical techniques and how scars evolve can be helpful. Let’s delve deeper into the subject of breast lift scars.

Are Scars Truly Avoidable After Breast Lift Surgery?

Like all surgical procedures, breast lifts necessitate making cuts on the skin. Such cuts open the possibility of scars, the skin’s natural method of repairing and generating new tissue.

Yet, there are proactive measures you can take to lessen scarring, from the preparatory phase to post-surgery care.

Your foremost action should be to select a skilled and board-certified plastic surgeon. Reviewing their previous work can not only give you a glimpse into their expertise but also help you visualize your desired outcome.

Engaging with a proficient surgeon minimizes potential issues that can lead to pronounced scarring. Additionally, they’ll provide invaluable guidance on post-operative skin care.

No surgical incision is completely without a scar. However, the visibility and size of scars largely depend on the type of breast lift technique used, individual healing factors, and post-operative care.

Different Surgical Techniques, Different Scars

The realm of breast lift surgery is intricate and diverse, with various techniques designed to cater to individual needs and desired outcomes. As each method has its own unique approach, it naturally leads to different scarring patterns.

Understanding these differences can provide clarity on what one might expect post-surgery and aid in making informed decisions. Let’s delve into these surgical techniques and the distinct scars they may leave behind.

1. Scarless Lift

A misleading term, the “scarless” lift isn’t entirely scar-free. It often involves using internal sutures or external devices to lift the breasts without significant incisions. Minimal scarring may be present but is usually less noticeable.

This process prompts the tissue to constrict and solidify, achieving the sought-after uplifted appearance.

Even though it’s dubbed “scarless”, this method is best suited for individuals with only slight sagging.

2. Crescent Lift

The crescent lift is characterized by its discreet scarring. This technique involves a single, slight incision tracing halfway around the upper perimeter of the areola.

Ideal for individuals with mild sagging and not a significant amount of residual breast tissue from events like post-pregnancy or substantial weight reduction, this method has its niche.

Primarily, the crescent lift is often recommended for women who are simultaneously considering breast augmentation. While the lift addresses the droopiness, the augmentation enhances the breast volume. This dual approach rejuvenates the skin, combatting the typical laxity seen with the passage of time, post-pregnancy changes, and weight fluctuations.

3. Donut Lift

An incision is made around the areola. The scar usually blends with the natural line of the areola, making it less visible.

For those experiencing moderate sagging, a donut lift could be the preferred option. Much like the crescent lift, this method entails just a single incision, leading to a relatively discreet scar.

The cut is crafted in a circular fashion encircling the areola.

Frequently paired with breast augmentation, donut lifts are especially advantageous for women seeking to diminish the areola’s size. Owing to this characteristic, the technique is also commonly referred to as a periareolar lift.

4. Lollipop Lift

The lollipop (or vertical) lift is tailored for women seeking both reshaping and sag correction. It stands as one of the prevalent choices among breast lifts.

In this technique, the surgeon crafts two incisions on each breast to excise surplus skin and provide a refined shape. The inaugural cut extends from the areola’s base down to the breast’s underside crease. The subsequent incision is fashioned encircling the areola, giving rise to the characteristic “lollipop” pattern.

5. Anchor Lift

This method involves three incisions: around the areola, vertically from the bottom of the areola to the breast crease, and along the breast crease. It addresses significant sagging.
The anchor lift, sometimes referred to as the “inverted-T” lift due to its distinctive incision pattern, is a comprehensive approach tailored for women with considerable sagging or those who possess excess skin following substantial weight loss or post-pregnancy changes.

It’s one of the most encompassing types of breast lifts, offering extensive reshaping and correction possibilities.

The procedure involves three primary incisions, evoking the image of a ship’s anchor. The first runs around the perimeter of the areola, the second descends vertically from the bottom of the areola to the breast’s natural crease, and the third follows the horizontal line of the breast fold.

the nipple to a more youthful and elevated position. This combination of cuts enables the surgeon to remove a significant amount of excess skin, reshape the breast tissue, and reposition the nipple to a more youthful and elevated position.

Though it results in more noticeable scarring compared to some other lifts, the anchor lift’s transformative effects can be profound, making it a favorable option for those in need of substantial modifications.

6. Horizontal Mastopexy

Horizontal mastopexy, as the name implies, emphasizes incisions made primarily on the horizontal axis, usually along the breast fold or inframammary crease. This technique is less common than other mastopexy procedures, but in certain cases, it can offer specific advantages.

During a horizontal mastopexy, the surgeon makes an incision primarily in the breast crease, allowing for the removal of excess skin and tissue primarily from the bottom portion of the breast. The main advantage of this technique is that the scar is well-hidden in the natural fold of the breast, making it less visible when the patient is standing or sitting upright.

The horizontal mastopexy is best suited for women who have a pronounced sagging primarily in the lower pole of the breasts. It’s also beneficial for those who wish to avoid vertical scars on the breast, as the primary scarring is confined to the natural crease.

As with all surgical procedures, recovery from a horizontal mastopexy will involve some swelling, bruising, and discomfort, but these typically subside within a few weeks. Since the incisions are made along the breast fold, patients should be cautious during the healing process to minimize scar stretching.

While horizontal mastopexy might not be as popular as other breast lift techniques, it serves as an essential option for those who are looking for a lift with discreet scarring. However, it’s crucial to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon to determine the best mastopexy technique tailored to individual needs and desired outcomes.

How Do I Know What Type of Breast Lift Scars I Will Have?

Your plastic surgeon will recommend the best technique based on the degree of sagging, breast size, and desired outcome. The proposed technique will determine the type and extent of the scars.

Contact with our board-certified plastic surgeons for your questions!

What Will the Breast Lift Scars Look Like?

The journey of a scar’s appearance post-surgery often follows a predictable course. Incisions from breast lift surgeries are typically fine and delicate. In the initial healing phase, these incisions tend to leave behind a pronounced, reddened line along their boundaries.

However, as the body continues its natural healing process, these scars undergo a transformation. Gradually, the vivid red hue diminishes, turning to a softer pink and eventually settling into a pale white shade.

This transition in color is complemented by a change in texture, as the initially raised scars flatten over time. This entire metamorphosis of the scar’s appearance can span several months and may extend up to a year post-surgery.

One’s skin tone plays a notable role in scar visibility. Individuals with extremely fair or dark complexions might notice their scars standing out more prominently.

Moreover, exposing the scar to direct sunlight can amplify its visibility, making it crucial to apply sunscreen diligently, even on overcast days.

Breast lift techniques involving incisions encircling the areola offer a discreet advantage. The resulting scars seamlessly blend with the natural transition between the areola and the surrounding breast skin, making them virtually undetectable, even in swimwear.

In most scenarios, breast lift scars can be effortlessly camouflaged beneath low-necked attire.

To guide expectations, it’s helpful to remember that scars situated horizontally along the breast fold or inframammary crease are generally less conspicuous compared to those made vertically on the breast.

Yet, regardless of the scar’s location, the body’s incredible healing capabilities paired with meticulous post-operative care can lead to beautifully healed and inconspicuous scars.

Will the Scars Change Over Time?

Yes, scars typically go through a maturation process. Most people will notice their breast lift scars after one year becoming less pronounced, although individual experiences may vary.

Behaviors to Avoid That Can Worsen Breast Lift Scars:

  • Sun Exposure: Direct sunlight can darken the scars, making them more noticeable. UV rays can interrupt the healing process, leading to hyperpigmentation. Always apply sunscreen to the scars if they will be exposed to sunlight, and consider covering them with clothing or hats.
  • Smoking: Nicotine reduces blood flow to the skin, which can impede the healing process and worsen scar appearance. Avoiding smoking before and after surgery can help scars heal more effectively.
  • Excessive Physical Activity: Engaging in strenuous activities or heavy lifting too soon after surgery can put stress on healing incisions, potentially leading to wound separation or widened scars. Always follow your surgeon’s advice on resuming physical activities.
  • Not Following Aftercare Instructions: Neglecting post-operative care instructions can compromise wound healing. It’s essential to clean the area, apply prescribed ointments, and change dressings as recommended.
  • Scratching or Picking: Touching, scratching, or picking at the incisions can introduce bacteria, leading to infections or slowing the healing process. It can also increase the risk of scar widening or the formation of keloid scars.
  • Wearing Tight Clothing: Tight clothes can rub against and irritate the healing scars. Choose soft, loose-fitting clothing that won’t put pressure on the incision sites during the initial healing phase.
  • Avoiding Moisturization: Keeping scars moisturized can improve their appearance and flexibility. Use recommended scar creams or ointments to maintain hydration.
  • Ignoring Signs of Infection: Symptoms like increased redness, swelling, warmth, or discharge around the scar could indicate an infection. If you notice these signs, consult your surgeon immediately.
  • Not Using Scar Minimizing Treatments: There are specific products and treatments, like silicone sheets or scar gels, which can improve the appearance of scars. Skipping these can hinder optimal scar healing.
  • Rapid Weight Fluctuations: Rapidly gaining or losing weight can stretch or compress the skin, affecting the healing scar’s appearance.

Remember, the key to minimizing scarring lies in following post-operative guidelines, maintaining good overall health, and seeking prompt attention for any concerning changes.

Breast Lift Surgery Aftercare Affects Scars

Post-operative care is crucial. Keeping the area clean, avoiding strenuous activities, and following your surgeon’s advice can aid in minimizing scar visibility.

How to Care for Your Scars and Minimize Their Appearance

Scar Massage

Gentle massage can increase blood flow and help in breaking down scar tissue.

Silicone Sheets or Scar Gels

These can keep the scar hydrated, which may expedite the healing process.

Embrace Dressings

This medical-grade dressing reduces tension around the scar, potentially reducing its appearance.

Fractionated Lasers

Laser treatments can be effective in improving scar color and texture.

Sunscreen

Protecting scars from the sun is crucial. UV rays can darken scars, making them more noticeable.

Is There a Procedure to Remove Breast Lift Scars?

Complete removal is challenging. However, treatments like laser therapy, microdermabrasion, and certain surgical revisions can improve scar appearance.

Are Breast Reduction Scars Permanent?

While scars from breast reduction (a procedure distinct from a breast lift) are permanent, their appearance can fade significantly over time with proper care.

When Should I Call My Healthcare Provider?

If scars become increasingly painful, show signs of infection (redness, warmth, oozing), or don’t seem to be healing, contact your surgeon.

What Are Other Types of Breast Surgery Scars?

  •  Breast Augmentation: Scars can be under the breast, around the areola, or in the armpit.
  •  Breast Reduction: Similar to the anchor lift, with scars around the areola, vertically down, and along the breast crease.
  •  Breast Reconstruction: Scarring varies based on techniques used, which can be quite diverse.
  •  Gynecomastia Surgery: Typically, scars can be around the areola or within the natural creases of the chest, depending on the extent of tissue removal.

Tips for Choosing the Right Surgeon

Ensure they are board-certified, check their before and after pictures, and seek recommendations and reviews.

Breast Lift Before & After Pictures

While this article doesn’t contain pictures, viewing before and after images can provide a clearer understanding of potential outcomes.

FAQs

Is It Normal for My Breast Lift Scars to Be Red and Raised Immediately After Surgery?

Yes, this is a typical part of the healing process.

How Long Will It Take for My Breast Lift Scars to Fade?

Scars typically begin to fade after a few months but can continue improving for up to a year or more.

Do Breast Lift Scars Ever Go Away?

While they may diminish significantly, they don’t completely disappear.

Is a Breast Lift Worth the Scars?

Many patients believe the improved breast shape and confidence boost outweigh the presence of scars.

Do Breast Lifts Leave Big Scars?

The size of the scar depends on the technique used. Proper care can minimize their appearance.

Conclusion

Breast lift scars are a natural part of the surgical journey. While they may be prominent initially, with time and care, they often become less noticeable. The key is understanding what to expect and taking proactive steps towards optimal healing.

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Author:

Prof. Dr. Ethem Güneren
Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery

Prof. Dr. Ethem Güneren graduated from Istanbul University’s Faculty of Medicine in 1987. In 2003, he became one of the first Turkish surgeons to become a member of the European Board of Plastic Surgeons (EBOPRAS). More recently, in 2017, Dr. Güneren also joined the American Association of Plastic Surgeons. With more than 25 years of experienced, he is one of the most widely recognized and certified surgeons in the country.

Read More

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