When a person walks into a professional surgeon’s office to discuss their breast augmentation surgery, many times the conversation hovers around the following question: will there be visible scars and will they fade on their own? It’s normal to be anxious about the results. This is a surgical procedure, which means the skin will be broken into; hence minimal scarring will inevitably occur. That being said, most of it will fade over time or will be hidden away by your skin or clothing. To learn more about breast augmentation scars, stick around.
- 1 Why Do Scars Form?
- 2 What sort of Scarring Could you see from Breast Augmentation?
- 3 How Long Will It Take for the Surgical Scars to Fade after the Procedure?
- 4 Dos and Don’ts after Breast Surgery for Pronounced Scars
- 5 Common Questions & Answers about Post-Surgical Scars
Why Do Scars Form?
The science behind scars can be explained in plain words as follows. When the skin is broken through, a wound forms that has to be closed as soon as possible. This makes the body produce huge amounts of a protein called collagen. The formation of collagen is a crucial process since birth. It is responsible for the elasticity of the skin and healthy joints. As we age, it becomes challenging for collagen to grow.
Now, back to the wound, we were talking about. In normal, healthy skin, the formation of collagen fibers occurs in proper alignment, but when there is an injury, the collagen fibers cross-link instead of being placed gracefully in and around the wound. In a word, they are all over the place. As a result of this, the skin in this area becomes a lot thicker than the rest of the cutaneous tissue, which makes it stand out a little.
Unfortunately, excessive scar tissue is not uncommon. This is just how the body works. However, with the right surgeon and the proper extra scar minimisation treatments, you can improve the appearance of scarring.
What sort of Scarring Could you see from Breast Augmentation?
It depends on the implant placement, suturing technique, incision types, and size of tissue pocket, among other things. Let’s dig into some of these.
Type of Incision
There are various incision strategies to use here and the visibility and thickness of scars will be determined by its very location. For example, when the surgical incisions are made around the areola – areolar incision – this will basically make it difficult to see the scars due to the texture and colour of the nipples. With respect to periareolar incisions, instead of a circular, there is a semi-circular incision. Hence, the scar is even less visible.
This is the perfect option when it comes to avoiding visible scars; however, it may not be the best if you want bigger breasts as the implants may not be able to fit through the small breast pocket (unless they are saline breast implants).
Now, if the specialist chooses to make all incisions under the breast crease – the inframammary incision – the breast lift scar will be minimal but still visible, especially when you are lying down. A bra or a crop top could successfully disguise it in case you feel self-conscious about it.
With the armpit incision approach called transaxillary incision, an opening is made into the armpit, which means the scar will be camouflaged until you raise your arms.
And lastly, there is a trans-umbilical incision (TUBA), which is rarely done these days. Without a doubt, the most common incision techniques and incision locations are the inframammary fold and periareolar incisions.
Generally speaking, there is a no-visible scar technique that the qualified plastic surgeon could go with which will reduce the formation of scarring but there are many other factors to take into account. For instance, something that could affect the outcome is skin type. It appears that there is a higher risk of keloid scars in melanin-rich skin types (darker skin tones).
Even though the quality of scars is never to be predicted in full, it is important to understand that a skilled plastic surgeon will do their best to reduce scar appearance by applying the right minimal-scar techniques and subtler incisions.
So, even if you have some breast augmentation scars, you should not be worried about aesthetics. The results will be natural and smooth but like everything, they will vary in individual patients. So, before you go under the knife, find yourself someone with extensive training in and experience with breast augmentation. An initial consultation and an in-person exam will help you figure out if you can trust them. (Mind you that you might have to pay a consultation fee.)
Note: if you choose to have fat transfer instead of breast implants, you will still have to deal with the liposuction scars that will form after the procedure; however, they will be located in your hips and other areas. Also, if you have a bad experience with scars or pigmented skin and skin diseases, do mention this to your doctor.
How Long Will It Take for the Surgical Scars to Fade after the Procedure?
This is an interesting question. You should know that you need to be patient because the body will take a while to heal. If we have to put a timeframe on it, you will spend around two years waiting for the scar to take on its final appearance. This is just the time it needs to mature. Don’t panic if you notice that it gets worse before it gets better. This is completely normal.
Many times surgical scars look more pronounced halfway through maturation than they are at the beginning. This gives breast augmentation patients anxiety. The tissue may get raised and pink, which will make it more obvious to the naked eye. But worry not. This is not the final version, so to say. Before you know it, everything will change for the better and you will not be bothered by it anymore.
Dos and Don’ts after Breast Surgery for Pronounced Scars
Dos for Unattractive Scars
- Get plenty of rest to allow your body to recover quickly
- Eat healthy and get enough sleep
- Stay away from cigarettes
- Do use sunscreen when out in the open or cover your scarring with a piece of clothing
- Perform gentle scar massages on the wound to promote good blood circulation and stay on top of your scar management
- Stick with your appointments with your attending board-certified doctors
- Shower from the waist down the first few days after your breast augmentation procedure
- Make sure to stay hydrated at all times
- Keep the wound clean by changing the adhesive bandages as often as necessary; these and the skin closure strips are supposed to protect the skin from tension
- Take vitamin supplements orally for the breast skin to help with the scar treatment
- Use a scar recovery gel to prevent unattractive scars or use special skin healing extracts that soothe irritated skin; it can make a huge difference in your recovery
Don’ts for Post-Surgical Scars
- Don’t sleep on your stomach as this will compromise the results; not to mention, it will put pressure on the incisions
- Do not expose your breast surgery scars to the harsh effects of the sun when you are outdoors; sun exposure should be limited as it may cause pigmentation and worsen the appearance of the scar
- Do not put stress on the wound; it will heal faster if undisturbed
- Do not drink alcohol at least 4 weeks after surgery
- Do not wet the wound – avoid baths and pools at all costs
- Don’t engage in heavy exercising or lifting
Common Questions & Answers about Post-Surgical Scars
In the final section of this post, let’s discuss the popular questions regarding one’s scar after breast augmentation and the different scar treatment options.
Q: How long does it take for breast implant incisions to heal?
A: The journey to your recovery will last some 6 to 8 weeks at the very minimum. It varies from patient to patient and is based on factors like age, health status, aftercare, etc. The healing process may also take longer if you develop complications. To avoid any mishaps, simply take your recovery process seriously and listen to your board-certified plastic surgeon about any piece of advice or information they deliver. This will make your entire experience much more agreeable and minimise the appearance of scars after breast augmentation.
Q: How do you get rid of breast augmentation scars?
A: There are different ways to minimise scar formation after breast augmentation. Topical non-invasive options include cortisone creams, silicone sheeting, silicone scar creams, silicone scar sticks, and topical vitamin E supplements. Then, there are other more aggressive breast augmentation scar treatments such as surgical scar revision and microneedling. What scar revision surgery does is make the breast lift scar blend better with the rest of the skin. Furthermore, you can opt for laser skin resurfacing which is one of many scar reduction treatments. It is performed by a skilled technician in a medical setting. Finally, other options include intense pulse light and low-level light therapy treatments depending on one’s individual needs. The power and intensity used here are lower than with other forms of laser light.
Q: When can I use scar cream after breast augmentation plastic surgery?
A: You can apply any type of ointment to the treatment area right after the incisions close and heal fully, which is about 3-6 weeks post-op. The reason you want to wait this long is that shovelling foreign substances into the tissue pocket will raise your risk of infection and significantly slow down your recovery.
Q: Can massaging a scar make it worse?
A: No, it’s quite the opposite actually. Gentle massages not only improve blood flow to the targeted area but also soften visible scarring over time. However, here is a quick word of caution. At the beginning, when your scar still hasn’t matured, you don’t want to apply lots of pressure on the scarred skin. Talk to a highly-trained surgeon about it and let them guide you through the process so you know how far you can go. Then, as time passes by, you will be encouraged to increase the pressure of the scar massage.
Q: What is best for healing scars?
A: The best scar management policy you can follow while your incisions are healing is to keep them clean and out of the sun. Do not let them get wet, as this may trigger infection. Use a special bra after your surgery to provide adequate support for the breasts and let the implants retain their shape. Once your wounds have healed, it doesn’t hurt to try softening creams and silicone treatments to improve the texture of your scarring. Gentle massages with topical products are another great idea. All in all, a great deal of factors will influence your scar responses.
Q: What is the best thing to put on scars after breast augmentation and plastic surgery?
A: Without a doubt, silicone is proven to work by flattening and fading breast surgery scars. There are special silicone-containing bandages as well as scar treatment strips and sheets designed for hypertrophic scars specifically that are sold in many stores. They should be applied directly on the skin over the targeted area and removed before showering. Some of them need to be secured with adhesive bandages while others come with a sticky surface on one side. Sometimes an affordable product does the same job as an expensive product. These also are suitable for abdominoplasty scars. At times extra skin treatments can be quite beneficial.
Q: Is Bio-Oil good for breast augmentation scars?
A: Bio-Oil is okay to use on stretch marks and breast implant scars as long as you are not allergic to any of the ingredients on the label.
Q: What is best for old scars?
A: If you have old scars, the best way to treat them is via surgical scar revision procedures, microneedling, and laser resurfacing.