11 things you need to know about breast reduction scars
Breast reduction procedures can be highly beneficial for some people, helping to relieve back pain and balance asymmetry. As with most surgeries, however, you should allow for recovery time – and expect to be left with some scarring.
The exact size and location of breast reduction scars will vary depending on several other factors, though scarring is completely normal, usually nothing to worry about and will fade over time. Having said that, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to get rid of it either.
But what should you know about breast reduction surgery scars?
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1. You can ask your doctor about them in advance
Your surgeon will be the one making the incisions, so they’ll have the best idea of where your scars will be located, their size and how many there will be.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions about them, and the healing process in general, during your initial consultation.
2. Your age, skin tone and genetics can affect breast reduction scars
Various factors may impact how long your breast reduction surgery scars will take to heal, and how they’ll look afterwards.
Age, genetics, skin elasticity and skin tone all come into play. Those with a darker skin tone, for example, are more likely to experience hyperpigmentation, keloids and hypertrophic scars. As we age, the inflammatory response also slows which, in turn, slows the healing process.
3: And the surgery type can determine your scars as well
Not every breast reduction is the same – and the scars differ too. Shorter scar techniques usually apply for people wanting to reduce their breast size by one cup and leave two smaller scars. Larger scar techniques generally apply to bigger reductions and asymmetry procedures – leaving three longer scars on your skin.
4. Post-surgery aftercare is key
Remember to follow your clinician’s instructions on aftercare. Not only will their guidance help prevent infection and other more serious side-effects, but it will help your wounds heal more effectively too.
Ripping your sutures or tearing the skin can result in bumpy, uneven scars, so ask your clinician how you should go about handling dressings post-op.
5. Keeping fluids up can help
We all know that staying hydrated can be a good thing for our health, but did you know that it can affect your scars too? Drinking water regularly after your operation will help keep your body hydrated to aid with healing.
This can also help avoid more serious complications during surgery and flush out bacteria.
6. Taking care in the sun is essential
Your skin will be particularly sensitive around scar tissue, leaving it susceptible to sunburn. This, in turn, can cause swelling, infection and discomfort.
Try to keep them covered up and out of the sun as much as possible for at least a year following surgery.
7. Massaging scars can help reduce their appearance
Massages can help break down collagen fibres, loosen tight skin and prevent tissue from building up as it heals, resulting in smoother, flatter scars. Remember to be careful when touching your scars – ask your doctor how long after the procedure it will be OK to do so. Once safe post-surgery, when the scars are sufficiently healed, it is generally recommended that you massage the skin two to three times a day for ten minutes, using circular motions each time. Just remember to wash your hands thoroughly beforehand and avoid pressing down too hard.
8. Supplements may help reduce the appearance of breast reduction scars
Some vitamins and minerals can help with the healing process, as well as fighting off bacteria. While you can get such vitamins from your diet, supplements are a great way to ensure you have the optimal amount in your system.
Vitamin A is particularly helpful as it assists with the inflammatory response and boosts the immune system, while vitamin C can encourage the production of collagen, resulting in smoother, firmer skin.
9. Avoiding strenuous activity can prevent scar stretching
You may be in a rush to get back to your weekly yoga class or gym session but try to put any strenuous activity on hold until your breast reduction surgery scars are fully healed.
Otherwise, wounds can rupture and split; potentially worsening your scars and allowing bacteria to penetrate the skin and cause infection. Remember to steer clear of any strenuous exercise, heavy lifting or stretching for at least a month following the procedure.
10. Itchiness is common
Itchiness and dry skin are typical side-effects after this kind of surgery, so don’t worry if you’re experiencing this.
Once the wound has closed, you can use an oil – alongside massages – to relieve this. Just ask your clinician for suitable, recommended products before putting anything on your scars.
11. Various treatment options are available
If you do want to seek treatment for your breast reduction scars, there are a range of options that may help them fade more quickly:
- Topical creams – your doctor should be able to recommend products that can help reduce the appearance of scarring.
- Microneedling – a device applies fine needles to the scar tissue, stimulating skin repair and collagen production to rejuvenate the area.
- Carboxytherapy – injections of carbon dioxide can break down fatty cells and boost collagen levels, helping to fade scarring.
- Scar revision surgery – if your scars are especially severe, further surgery may be able to help.
Appropriate aftercare can help your breast reduction surgery scars heal as smoothly as possible – but options are always available if you are concerned and wish to help them fade more quickly.
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