- Breast reduction produces anchor-shaped scars located on the lower half of the breasts
- These scars will be red and raised, then gradually flatten and fade over 6–12 months
- For best results, keep scars moisturized with antibiotic ointments and silicone scar cream, and massage daily
- Scars still highly visible after 1 year can be improved with laser or wound revision treatments
Breast reduction, a surgical procedure that removes fat, tissue and skin from the breasts, is a transformative operation that can improve quality of life, alleviate pain and boost self-confidence in women with large breasts. Although this type of plastic surgery inevitably results in some scarring, our priority is to make the incisions and resulting scars as imperceptible as possible.
Here, we’re covering what your breast reduction scars will look like, how long they will take to fade, how to help them heal as smoothly as possible and more. If you feel you would benefit from breast reduction, schedule a consultation with one of our plastic surgeons at our Greenville, SC location.
Where Will Your Breast Reduction Scars Be Located?
Breast reduction scars are located on the lower half of the breast. They’re fully hidden when wearing a bikini top or bra.
What Will the Scars Look Like?
Most women will have an anchor-shaped scar after surgery. This scar encircles the areola and runs vertically to the bottom of the breast, where it’s met by a curved horizontal scar along the breast crease. In most cases, the scars around the areola blend seamlessly with the areola itself, and the lower horizontal scar is concealed by the breast.
For women with more moderately sized breasts, your provider may use a surgical technique that leaves a smaller, lollipop-shaped scar instead. A lollipop scar encircles the areola and runs vertically to the breast crease.
Breast Reduction Surgery Scar Healing Timeline
If you follow our aftercare instructions, in most cases your scars will flatten out after 2–3 months, then continue to fade over the next 6–12 months.
However, multiple factors affect what your personal healing process will look like. People heal at different rates; we’ve had patients whose scars are virtually undetectable after 3 months and others who still have prominent scarring after more than 1 year.
Another factor is the elasticity of your skin. People with looser, thinner or mature skin tend to develop wider scars, while those with firm skin may have fine, light lines.
For women with lighter skin, scars usually first appear very pink and then fade with time. Women with darker skin tend to have more noticeable raised scars; typically they are wider and hyperpigmented, even after several months. This is due to having higher levels of melanin in their skin as well as other genetic factors. These scars can be treated with one of several techniques to make them less noticeable.
Will the Scars Ever Go Away?
As a general rule, scars created by surgical incisions are permanent, therefore, our goal at ACS is to make them as discreet as possible. Ideally, your fully healed scars would be thin, faint and slightly lighter in color than your natural skin tone.
Breast Reduction Scar Healing Tips
There are a number of ways to support your healing process and minimize scars after a breast reduction procedure. Follow these tips and all instructions from your plastic surgeon for best results.
Wear a surgical bra
We’ll provide you with a supportive bra that must be worn 24 hours a day for at least 2 weeks post surgery. This garment supports blood circulation, reduces inflammation and swelling, and helps your breast tissue settle into its new position – all of which promote faster healing and minimal scar formation.
At your follow-up appointment, we’ll examine your progress and determine whether you need to continue wearing the surgical bra or if you can switch to another supportive undergarment.
Wounds require moisture to heal, and so preventing your skin from drying out during the healing process is key to minimizing scarring. To achieve this, we recommend regularly applying an occlusive antibiotic ointment such as Neosporin and wearing wound closing strips (Steri-Strips) or silicone sheets while your incisions heal.
Apply silicone scar cream
After your sutures are removed, approximately 7–14 days post treatment, we will provide you with a silicone scar cream. This cream reduces redness and prevents both hypopigmentation and hyperpigmentation around the healed incisions. Apply this cream on a daily basis for 2–3 months.
Massage the scars
Once the incisions have fully healed (about 3–4 weeks after your procedure) you can start a daily scar massage routine. Gentle massage can break up accumulated collagen fibers at the scar site, helping it to become as flat as possible.
What to Avoid
To minimize the appearance of scars and promote faster healing avoid:
- Applying vitamin E, which can worsen scars’ appearance
- Exposure to UV rays, including sunlight and tanning beds; if unavoidable, apply sunscreen
- Lifting anything heavier than 5 pounds for 4 weeks post operation
- Raising your arms above your shoulders for 4 weeks
- Scrubbing, exfoliating or scratching the healing scars
- Smoking for 1 month prior to surgery and until you’ve fully healed
Breast Reduction Scar Treatments
Sometimes, even with the best care, visible scarring can remain a full year after surgery. Fortunately, we can minimize stubborn thick, raised (hypertrophic) scars through two types of scar revision procedures.
If only a small area of scarring is being treated—as is the case for most of our scar revision patients—this procedure can take place in-office under local anesthesia. Larger areas may require an oral sedative.
Depending on the type of scarring you have, the procedure may involve laser surgery or wound revision, which involves making a new incision, removing excess scar tissue and reclosing the wound.
A breast reduction procedure can improve your quality of life, boost your self-esteem and eliminate chronic back, shoulder and neck pain.
Although scarring is inevitable after this procedure, breast reduction scars are relatively minor and easy to conceal. In most cases, the scars will be on the lower half of your breasts in an anchor-shaped formation and largely concealed by the breasts’ lower curves; women with more moderately sized breasts may have a lollipop-shaped scar.
To promote quick healing with as little scarring as possible, keep your incisions and fresh scars moisturized with an occlusive antibiotic ointment, Steri-Strips and silicone sheets for several months post surgery. Once the wounds are fully healed, massage your scars regularly to break down collagen fibers and flatten them.
If you’re dissatisfied with the appearance of your scars one year after surgery, contact the Advanced Cosmetic Surgery team at our Greenville, SC location to discuss scar revision procedures. Our plastic surgeons will assess your situation and help you develop the right solution to improve the look of your scars.