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Minimizing Breast Augmentation Scars with the Right Surgeon

Published by Dr. Brandon Richland, MD

Breast augmentation surgery can leave scars and is almost inevitable with implants. Understanding the different types of breast implant scars and how to minimize and treat them is essential for successful recovery and aesthetic results.

Breast augmentation scars are caused by the incision made during the surgery and can vary in size and appearance depending on factors such as age, skin type, medical history, and healing process.

Key Takeaways of Breast Augmentation Scars

  • Breast augmentation can cause scarring since it is almost inevitable with implants.
  • Different breast implant scars include Inframammary, Periareolar, Lollipop or Anchor, and Transaxillary incisions.
  • Prevention measures such as hydration and suppleness maintenance, vitamin E creams, cortisone cream, or ointments can help minimize scarring.
  • Treatments consisting of topical treatments like silicone gels or laser therapy may also be used to reduce the appearance of scars for more natural looking results.

Types of Breast Implant Scars

Breast augmentation surgery may result in scarring, and understanding the different types of breast implant scars is essential for every interested patient. Common breast enhancement and scar types include inframammary incisions, periareolar incisions, lollipop or anchor incisions, and transaxillary incisions.

Inframammary Incision

The inframammary incision is used to insert implants, and is placed along the natural skin fold under the breast. It offers an advantage over other breast augmentation incisions because scarring and visibility can be easily concealed in this location. It also creates better access to different areas of the chest wall for more precise placement of implants.

The resulting scar of an inframammary incision may appear red or pink initially, but should become less noticeable with proper care and treatment. Some potential risks, such as infection or loss of nipple sensation, are relatively uncommon when using an inframammary approach, since the surgeon has more control during implant placement due to unrestricted exposure from this type of small incision.

Periareolar Incision

The periareolar incision is a surgical technique where surgeons create a curved, slightly raised, semi-circular scar that traces the lower half of the areola.

The periareolar approach helps make any scars less visible as they’re masked by darker skin, and there is usually very minimal pain or downtime associated with this method. Because it utilizes smaller incisions than other techniques, there tends to be reduced tension on cohesive gel implants.

This offers more ideal aesthetic outcomes for those undergoing breast augmentation surgery. Good quality results can be achieved using the periareolar approach when performed correctly by an experienced surgeon.

Lollipop and Anchor Incisions

Lollipop and anchor incisions are two types of incisions used during breast lifts. The lollipop or incision type one is made around the nipple areola complex, creating a scar in the shape of a lollipop.

An anchor incision generally traces along the entire border of the areola before extending down to the inframammary fold, resulting in more extensive scarring around this area.

Depending on the kind of lift procedure and its complexity, either type of scar can be a potential outcome. Both provide access to repositioning the breast tissue as needed, but have slightly different aesthetic results. An anchor may result in a more permanent scar, whereas a lollipop scar may reduce in visibility over time.

Transaxillary Incision

The transaxillary incision, which involves making small, discreet armpit incisions to insert breast implants, is one of the most popular techniques used in breast augmentation.

The primary advantage to this approach is that it avoids scarring on the breast itself and minimizes any cutting through breast tissue. Due to the East Asian complexion leaving visible scars, this technique has become widely favorable among Korean women.

Appearance of Breast Implant Scars from Breast Augmentation Surgery

The appearance of breast implant scars depends on various factors, including the type of incision used to place the implants and the individual’s healing process. Most breast augmentation incision scarring is subtle and quite red or pink.

Over time, these scars tend to become less visible, and it can take up to 12 months before they are hardly noticeable. The size and appearance of scars vary depending on which incision was used for placement, such as inframammary or transaxillary incisions, and whether capsular contracture has occurred after surgery.

Scarring outcomes from an experienced plastic surgeon may also look different from scarring caused by another medical provider using a less precise surgical technique.

Minimizing and Treating Breast Augmentation Scars

Strictly following post-op care guidelines can minimize the appearance of scars.

Image Credit: Mkphotoshu / 123RF.com (Licensed).

Preventive Measures

To reduce the appearance of breast augmentation scars, prevention is critical. Maintaining scar tissue hydration and suppleness with appropriate lotions or silicone strips can be beneficial in reducing scar tissue.

Vitamin E, silicone based scar gels, cortisone creams, and other topical ointments can promote scar healing. Eating a nutritious diet that includes foods rich in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits or bell peppers, may also aid in treatment. Drinking plenty of water can help flush away toxins and keep skin hydrated, which helps speed up the healing process. Minimizing exposure to sunlight during breast augmentation recovery may also lighten existing scars.

Scar Treatment Options

Various treatment options are available to improve the appearance of treated scars and reduce associated discomfort. Vitamin E has been used as a topical scar treatment by many patients who have undergone breast augmentation surgery.

It is also recommended that silicone based scar gels and patches be applied over the whole surgical site or incision to soften and flatten raised or thickened areas. Cortisone creams may help reduce the redness surrounding scar tissue to minimize its visibility.

If using these treatments does not show significant improvement in reducing visible scars, then laser therapy can be done under the advice of an experienced plastic surgeon.

Duration of Breast Augmentation Scars on Breast Implants

Most breast augmentation scars take 6 to 12 months to heal properly and blend in with the natural skin tone. It can take up to 18 months for a scar to fully mature.

Women undergoing breast lift with breast implant surgery may have scars that take longer to heal due to additional incisions needed to reshape sagging breasts.

Size and Appearance of Breast Implant Scars

Breast implant scars can range in color from barely visible to a dark red permanent mark depending on several factors, including the location and type of incision used for the surgery, skin tone, and the body’s ability to heal.

Inframammary incisions tend to produce smaller scar lines compared to lollipops or anchor shaped incisions because of their shorter length. Scars from a transaxillary incision may remain entirely hidden in most patients, while periareolar incisions have more potential to be apparent.

Effects of Skin Tone on Breast Implant Scars

Scarring is a common outcome of breast augmentation surgeries. The appearance of scars and the rate at which they heal depend on several factors, including age, genetics, and skin tone.

Women with darker skin types may be more prone to developing hypertrophic and keloid scars after surgery due to the increased pigment in their skin cells.

Individuals considering the procedure should discuss scar treatment options with their healthcare professional beforehand. Some strategies may work better than others, depending on each patient.

Tips to Minimize Scars after Surgery

Doing preventive measures is the first step to minimizing scars after breast augmentation. These include wearing a compression bra and avoiding sun exposure during recovery. Maintaining a nutritious diet to strengthen skin tissue, and refraining from smoking or drinking alcohol as much as possible, can also help minimize scarring.

Use of Topical Ointments for Scar Reduction

Topical ointments such as vitamin e oil, silicone sheets, and cortisone creams, can be beneficial for reducing the appearance of breast augmentation scars. These are cheaper, non-invasive treatments that patients can safely apply directly on their scars.

Vitamin e oil is often found in scar creams and helps reduce discoloration and recurrence of hypersensitive spots on the skin, while silicon sheets are known to minimize visible marks or lumps.

Cortisone creams work to reduce inflammation while at the same time promoting collagen production, which contributes to an improved wound healing process that directly affects scar formation. Collagen is known to stimulate skin elasticity and hydration, which can help soften and flatten scars.

Additional Treatments for Scar Reduction

Scar treatment options for patients include steroid injections, laser therapy, or chemical peels to reduce inflammation and discoloration of the affected area. Specific techniques can sometimes lessen the scar length to 4cm or less. At the same time, additional treatments such as dermabrasion can help reduce scar tissue and erase minor acne flare ups commonly caused by breast implant scars.

Injections or laser therapy can also be used for the early stages of scarring. Surgery may be needed if more resistant scars have formed. Taking preventative measures such as routinely cleaning wounds as instructed by a doctor, protecting them from UV radiation, moisturizing regularly, and avoiding smoking can all help minimize skin damage that leads to scarring.

Contacting a Plastic Surgeon for Breast Augmentation Scars

Considering breast augmentation surgery, finding a board certified plastic surgeon is essential. This ensures that specific qualifications, expertise, and training are present to perform the procedure safely and effectively.

Image Credit: Georgerudy / 123RF.com (Licensed).

Finding a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

Board certification from The American Board of Plastic Surgery validates a plastic surgeon’s experience and knowledge concerning cosmetic procedures. Certified doctors have completed an accredited residency in plastic surgery and additional examinations that demonstrate their technical skill and dedication to best practice patient care.

Consultation and Care

A consultation ensures the patient has the necessary information and support to make an informed decision about surgery. During a consultation, the plastic surgeon can provide insights into potential complications, including scarring risks, management strategies, and treatment options. They can also help develop a plan that offers optimal safety while addressing a patient’s specific aesthetic goals.

Learn more about setting realistic expectations and see breast augmentation before and after results.

Care and Treatment of Breast Surgery Scars

Patients should take preventive measures following their procedure to minimize the appearance of breast surgery scars.

Plastic surgeons often recommend using moisturizers on incision areas as soon as one day post surgery. Silicone gels can reduce swelling and help with scar formation. This kind of skin care regimen can be supplemented by laser treatment for more aggressive results. In some cases where existing scars are severe or deep set, plastic surgeons may perform a scar revision surgery to achieve desired results.

Scar treatment products with silicone as the main ingredient have proven to improve both fresh and old marks on breasts due to surgical incisions.

Frequently Asked Questions on Breast Augmentation Scars

1. Are There Any Risks Associated with Breast Augmentation Scarring?

Scarring is an inevitable result of breast augmentation, and may include risks such infection due to improper wound care.

2. How Can I Prepare for Scars from My New Implants?

Speak openly with your surgeon about expectations regarding scars before proceeding with a breast implant surgery, so they can discuss ways to reduce scar visibility after healing is completed. Following all post operative instructions is essential in assuring successful recovery and minimal visible marks.

3. What Types of Surgical Techniques Reduce Scar Formation?

Many plastic surgeons use different methods designed to minimize scarring, such as incision placement on less conspicuous areas, infiltration strategies, and using creams to reduce chances of inflammation or scarring that may occur following implant installation.

4. Will My Scar Permanently Disappear?

Any type of scars, including those from breast augmentation, is permanent, but can improve and fade over time depending on the size and location. There are creams and treatments that vary in benefits, complexity, and costs, available to make them unnoticeable.

Image Credit: Deagreez / 123RF.com (Licensed).

Conclusion and Summary of Minimizing Breast Augmentation Scars with the Right Surgeon

Scarring is an unavoidable outcome of any breast augmentation surgery. But in most cases, these scars are minimal and unnoticeable and fade over time. The healing rate varies depending on factors such as genes, age, skin tone, and the individual’s skincare routine.

A board certified plastic surgeon usually assesses a patient pre breast surgery to determine recovery timeline including scar healing. They can advise the patient about proper scar management and treatments that can reduce scar appearance, should it be needed or wanted by any individual who has undergone a breast augmentation surgery. 

Please note that this article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Before making any changes to your treatments, please consult with your healthcare provider to discuss the appropriateness and safety of such changes.

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About the Author

Dr. Brandon Richland, MD is a respected Board Certified Licensed Plastic Surgeon in Orange County / Southern California specializing in cosmetic and reconstructive surgeries.

Driven by his passion for medicine, Dr. Richland obtained his Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree from the prestigious program at Saint Louis University (SLU) School of Medicine in 2013. His exceptional skills were recognized when he received the McGraw Hill / Lange Medical Student Academic Achievement Award, and graduated top of his class with Honors. For his undergraduate degree, he attended University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and graduated with Honors in 2009.

To further enhance his surgical expertise, Dr. Richland completed his Residency in Plastic Surgery at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) from 2013 to 2019 earning the Academic Achievement Award twice during this period. A total of 14 years in dedicated schooling and medical residency.

Dr. Richland is actively involved with healthcare and medical societies, as a Diplomate of the American Board of Plastic Surgery, a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, and the California Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Contact Dr. Richland today by visiting RichlandMD.com, scheduling a cosmetic consultation, or by calling 714-241-0646 or 949-945-0025 directly.