Breast Lift Scars: Recovery After Surgery
Mastopexy, also known as breast lift surgery, is an effective way of making your chest full and perky again - as long as the thought of a subsequent scar doesn’t bother you, that is. Alas, invasive interventions usually leave parting marks in the treatment site which can scary some patients away from the procedure. The good news is that certain incision patterns do less damage to the skin and that - in conjunction with adequate postoperative care - can keep breast lift scars down. Here is what you need to know.
How Bad Are the Scars After a Breast Lift?
When it comes to plastic surgery, the marks that normally occur are like thin lines raised above the incision site. At first, the tissue is red, then it fades to pink until it eventually becomes white and flattens. The entire process takes up to a year. The marks are most noticeable when the skin is too dark or light.
Every plastic surgeon will tell you that scarring tends to fade away over time. And while that’s true, it also doesn’t change the fact that part of it will still be visible, especially when you are not wearing any clothes. Mastopexy generally involves several surgical techniques and they all leave different scars.
The fewer corrections to be made, the smaller the aftereffects. Depending on the problems you need to address, the specialist will recommend a specific method. For example, some women want to improve both their size and shape, while others look to remove a small amount of sagging and tighten their breasts.
Types of Scarring and Breast Lift Techniques
Donut lift. This one is needed when you experience moderate sagging in your breast tissue. One incision is made around the areola in a circle manner. Then the excess skin and fat are removed and the nipple is stitched back up. The scar is usually very small and almost invisible because of the site of the incision. It’s in the form of a circle. This type of lift is often coupled with breast augmentation and is also suitable for women who want to shrink the size of their areolas.
Crescent lift. This one requires a single incision in the form of a sickle/crescent, which runs along the edge of the areola. It allows the surgeon to place breast implants if the patient requires such (although most women aim for greater augmentation). It is important to note that the method works for minimal sagging. Because of the location and size of the incision, crescent lift scars are usually minimal.
Lollipop lift. This one requires a vertical incision between the breast crease and the areola, and another one around the areola. It works for moderate sagging where the above methods won’t be efficient enough.
Anchor lift. This is the oldest surgical method, which leaves the biggest scar. The surgeon makes two incisions into the breast in the form of an inverted T. The first one runs across the breast crease and the second one is a vertical line between the areola and the crease. Then, there is a third incision around the areola. The anchor lift helps cut out excessive sagging that resulted from weight loss, pregnancy, and age. It is the most invasive one, which explains why the visible scarring is so significant.
Things To Avoid Doing After Surgery:
- Don’t go sun tanning. If the scar tissue is often exposed to the sun, it will darken and become more noticeable.
- It is crucial to quit smoking for the time being to avoid complications. Ditch the cigarettes at least one month before the operation is due and try to keep the bad habit out of the way for a few more weeks.
- The first couple of months post-op you want to refrain from heavy lifting.
- You should also avoid scratching the treated area, as this will hamper the healing process.
- Excessive scrubbing and exfoliation are strongly discouraged.
Postoperative Care Tips That Will Minimise Breast Lift Scars
Undergo a laser treatment. When the wound heals completely, you can treat the scar with a fractionated laser. It will reach into the outermost and middle layers of the skin and purposely damage the cells to stimulate tissue regrowth. Note that you will need to schedule more than one session to obtain maximum results.
Limit sun exposure. Make sure to wear appropriate clothing and hats to keep the UVA and UVB rays away from your skin. On that note, it is strongly recommended to apply sunscreen of at least 30 SPF.
Opt for scar gels and sheets. Bandages that contain silicone will help prevent your skin from over-drying. They hydrate the incisions and can also reduce pain and itchiness post-surgery. As for gels, they help minimise the appearance of scars. You should apply them on the daily once the incisions heal. It goes without saying that these things require a consistent approach.
Massage the scar area using circular motions. You want to go both ways: vertically and horizontally. This will increase collagen and minimise pain and inflammation. You can start doing this two weeks after the breast lift. Needless to say, don’t apply pressure, be gentle on yourself.
Stick with embrace dressings. They contain silicone too and should be placed over the treatment area right after the incisions are closed. The dressing will help keep the edges of the wound together, which will reduce the possibility of scar tissue build-up. You can wear one of these every day for up to a year.
Is There Such a Thing as a Scarless Breast Lift?
Technically yes, but the procedure is not as effective as the other methods. It is performed by inserting a network of dissolvable threads at the site of the collarbone, running them under the breast and anchoring them back to the collarbone. It’s like the underwire of a bra whose purpose is to keep the breast in good shape and provide a small lift. The only difference is that this one works on the inside.
The sutures are inserted through tiny incisions, but they are so small that the scars are little to concern about. If you are positive that you want no marks in your chest area, this is the way to go. However, you may not be pleased with the results; not to mention very few people make good candidates.
Is There a Way to Avoid Scars?
Unfortunately, with surgical interventions, it’s difficult not to leave a mark. However, technology is so advanced that the scarring is almost non-existent. The best way to ensure that everything goes smoothly is to find a surgeon in your area who is trained, experienced, and qualified. Remember that this is an invasive surgical procedure that could put your life at risk if not executed by an expert.