Understanding Breast Augmentation Scars
If you are considering undergoing breast augmentation surgery, it’s completely normal to have a lot of questions about how the procedure will change your body. One of the most common questions women have for their breast implant plastic surgeons is “will the surgery leave scars?” Since breast implant procedures are procedures performed by using surgical incisions, the answer is- yes, breast augmentation surgery leaves scars.
That being said, your Raleigh board-certified plastic surgeon will work with you and the contours of your body to choose an incision site that is discreet and offer solutions for minimizing the appearance of scars. Whenever someone has a surgical procedure performed, it’s important to understand all the lasting effects on your body, including the existence of scars.
We have everything you need to know about breast implant scars- from the types of augmentation surgeries that leave scars, what the scar looks like, and all the other frequently asked questions breast implant patients have as their surgery day gets closer.
Breast Implant Scars Procedures
Surgical procedures that involve breast augmentation will leave behind scars. This includes getting breast implants of any size to enlarge and reshape the breasts, as well as undergoing a procedure that combines a breast lift with augmentation.
If you’ve had breast augmentation surgery in the past and have experienced dissatisfaction with the results; or if pregnancy, weight gain, or other factors have shifted the implant; you can have the breast implants removed or readjusted. In these cases, you may be a candidate for a breast implant revision or breast implant removal. During both of these procedures, your breast implant plastic surgeon will work with the scars from your former surgery to hide the new scar.
Types of Breast Implant Scars
The type of scarring left behind from a breast augmentation surgery depends on the type of procedure, the type of incision made, and the surgical approach taken by your doctor. While every patient’s post-surgical scarring can be unique to them, there are common types of scars left behind from particular types of incision marks.
The inframammary fold is the crease located right underneath the breast against the wall of the chest. Using an inframammary incision at this location is common for breast implant surgery because the scar will be easily hidden by the breast.
Inframammary incisions are one of the most common types used for breast augmentation surgery because of their discreet locale. Additionally, this type of incision has a low likelihood of affecting the nipple’s sensation, nor the milk ducts used for breastfeeding, making it a popular choice made by many breast implant surgeons.
With the incision blending into the tissue surrounding the nipple, a periareolar incision circles the perimeter of the nipple. While this is another common type of breast implant incision, there is some hesitation to its use because it does affect some of the milk ducts of the breast, making future breastfeeding issues possible. Additionally, there may be some loss of nipple sensation.
Benefits to using the periareolar incision is that it’s a good location for easy removal or replacement surgery to be performed along the same incision site, as well as a location that gives the surgeon optimal access for breast implant placement.
Lollipop or Anchor Incisions
When undergoing a breast lift with implant surgery, the augmentation incision placement will include either the lollipop or anchor technique. Both of these incisions affect the milk ducts and can create a loss of sensation to the nipples and breasts.
The lollipop incision is made around the areola, then down the center of the front of the breast below the nipple. This allows the surgeon to reshape the breast and place the nipple in the proper location. The anchor incision is nearly the same as the lollipop, only, at the bottom of the incision down the center of the breast, the incision continues to form what looks like an anchor as it cuts to the left and right along the inframammary fold.
When the breast implant scar is hidden within the armpit region, it’s the result of an incision made in the armpit crease called a transaxillary incision. While this incision type is great for hiding scars, it does not give the surgeon the greatest level of access for precision with placement of the breast implant.
What Breast Implant Scars Look Like
Predicting what your breast implant scar might look like will depend on the specific breast augmentation surgery you are having and the incision technique used by your surgeon.
What you can expect immediately after surgery is inflammation at the incision site and stitches. Over the course of 18 months the signs of scarring will improve, but expect to see a scar that is a red or pink color and is slightly raised.
The rate at which your scar heals will depend on the nature of your skin, your age, genetics, exposure to the sun, and your surgeon’s skill.
How to Minimize and Treat Breast Implant Scars
How you care for your post-breast augmentation surgery skin matters. There are some things you can do to expedite the healing process and to minimize the appearance of your scars.
To minimize your scars or treat scars as they heal, consider the following:
- Avoid smoking: Studies have shown that the skin of non-smokers heals at a faster rate than smokers. In order to accelerate the healing process, avoid smoking for several weeks before and after the surgery.
- Wear sunscreen: It’s optimal to stay out of the sun as much as possible throughout the healing stages of your breast augmentation procedure, but if you do find yourself in the sun, it is imperative to your skin’s healing to wear sunscreen.
- Hydrate: Drinking plenty of water to keep your skin plump and avoid dehydration is another way to help your body’s natural healing process and minimize the appearance of your scar.
- Use Vitamin E: Take supplements or apply a topical ointment directly to the incision site, as Vitamin E heals and minimizes signs of scarring.
- Listen to your surgeon: After your breast implant surgery, your surgeon will have specific care instructions regarding physical activities as well as general care. Listening to this advice from experts will help the healing of your scars.
Breast Implant Scars FAQ
Why do breast implant scars occur?
Scarring is caused by creating an incision on the skin- an incision is a cut made by a surgical knife, and it is impossible not to leave some kind of mark behind when surgically incising the body.
Do breast implant scars go away?
While there will likely be some evidence of your breast implant scars, they will fade over time, but they will not entirely go away. With proper post-surgery care techniques, you can help minimize their appearance.
How big is a breast implant scar?
The size of your scar will depend on the type of incision made by your physician and if you received a breast augmentation or a breast lift with augmentation. Lollipop and anchor incisions used for breast lifts are larger than the commonly used periareolar and inframammary incisions for breast augmentation alone.
How will breast implant scars look on my skintone?
For lighter skin tones, scars tend to be reddish or pink in color, and over time as they heal, the scar will likely become a closer shade to your natural skin tone. For patients with darker skin, a pink or brown-toned scar is more likely, and as it heals over time, the scar will likely remain a shade of brown, depending on your particular skin.
How to reduce breast implant scars after surgery?
After your breast implant surgery, it is important to follow your doctor’s aftercare procedures to minimize the appearance of the scars and to heal the area nicely. Using vitamin E, following a healthy diet, drinking a lot of water each day, and following proper hygiene to care for the area are some of the best ways to care for your body post-surgery.
How long until breast implant scars go away?
While your breast implant scars will never totally disappear, you will notice that after the first 2-3 months the scarring becomes less raised and turns from a reddish tone to a pink one. Over time, at around 6-12 months post-surgery, you will find that the scars are healed and much closer to your natural skin tone.
Will breast implant scars be permanent?
Yes, breast implant scars are permanent. However, over time, as the scars become completely healed their appearance significantly fades and might become less noticeable, depending on their location, size, and your skin’s ability to heal.
Will the breast implant scars look identical on each breast?
Your plastic surgeon will make every effort to make the implant placement, breast shape and size, and incisions identical. Sometimes a scar on one side of your body may heal at a different rate or may become raised more in one location than another, but overall, if the same technique is used for both breast implants, the scarring should look very similar from one to the other.
Do topical ointments help reduce breast implant scars?
Yes! Using vitamin E, silicone-based scar gels, cortisone creams, or other topical ointments can significantly reduce the appearance of breast implant scars. Be sure to listen to your surgeon’s recommendations and follow the instructions for use on the product you choose.
Are there treatments to further hide or reduce breast implant scars?
You should not have a procedure done on your breast implant scars until the healing process is complete. However, if you are unhappy with your breast implant scars or have scars from a previous surgery, you can speak to your surgeon about a scar revision treatment service.
Contact a Raleigh Breast Implant Plastic Surgeon
Are you interested in getting breast augmentation surgery or a breast lift with augmentation surgery? Contact our board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Ortiz, to have a consultation and discuss the type of breast implants that are right for you. Dr. Ortiz has performed thousands of breast implant surgeries and can answer any questions you have about scars and the scar-healing process. Call us today at 919-532-2270 or fill out the form below to get started.