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How to Care for Your Breast Surgery Scars

Breast Augmentation

August 19, 2019

By: Ronda Oosting

For most women, the size and appearance of their breasts play a huge part in their self-confidence and how they view themselves. Having children, genetic factors, breast feeding, weight fluctuations and aging (thank you gravity!) can all impact the appearance of women’s breasts. It is incredibly common for women to explore breast surgery as a means to feel more comfortable with their shape. The most common breast surgeries include breast augmentationbreast lift, and breast reduction, and when required, breast reconstruction. Regardless of the surgical procedure chosen, there will be incisions. The size and number of incisions vary depending on the surgery and the surgeon’s technique, but you probably don’t look forward to having a scar regardless. Certain factors determine how severe your scar is, as well as how to properly care for your breast surgery scars to result in the best healed incisions possible.

The Science Behind Breast Surgery Scars

When your skin experiences trauma like an injury or incision, collagen comes running to the rescue. One of our board certified plastic surgeons, Dr. Rechner, explains the science behind scars with a great analogy. He says “Imagine you are moving and decide to hire a moving company. They come and load all your belongings into their moving trucks and transport everything to your new home. Once there, they unload the trucks and typically just dump all your boxes into your new house. Our body delivers collagen to the incision site the same way the movers put your stuff into your house. It dumps the collagen into the injury site without organizing it very well. Collagen fibers are laid down in every direction at first, often resulting in a raised or bumpy scar. As the collagen fibers begin to organize themselves and lay in one direction, the scar heals and becomes less noticeable.” However, breast surgery aftercare is essential to ensuring the scars heal as best as they can.  

Why Are Some Breast Surgery Scars More Visible Than Others?

According to Dr. Rechner, there are several variables that determine why some individuals’ scars are more visible than others. He explains “One determining factor is your physiology, which is simply how you are put together. Your physiology includes your body’s inflammatory response, how much collagen you produce and your collagen’s moving and organizational skills. Another factor that determines how we scar is age.” Dr Rechner explains that as we age, we have a lowered inflammatory response and therefore less collagen to help our bodies heal. While we may believe younger bodies “bounce back quicker,” the result is actually thinner and lighter scars for older people at their incision site. No matter what age you are getting your breast surgery, however, there are factors you can take control of to improve the healing process of your breast surgery scars. 

Does the Surgeon’s Technique and Scar Placement Make a Difference?

It is very important to do your research when it comes to choosing your surgeon. There are many qualified surgeons to choose from and it can be overwhelming determining who will best provide the results you are looking for. At the Centre for Plastic Surgery, our surgeons are board certified and highly experienced to provide you with the best care and experience possible in your breast surgery. Be sure to talk about scar technique and placement during your consultation, and ask your surgeon to explain what considerations they use when making incisions. While discussing breast reduction surgery scars, Dr. Rechner says “there are several different ways to perform breast reductions, but scars heal better when the incisions are placed in an area where there is the least amount of tension. When the incisions are positioned with the least amount of tension possible it results in a flatter and less noticeable scar.” 

Treatments for Breast Surgery Scar Aftercare 

At the Centre for Plastic Surgery, the process to treat breast surgery scars begins by following your surgeon’s post-surgery instructions very carefully. You will have skin closure strips over your incisions after your surgery, and those should be left in place for the two weeks following your surgery. You will also be given a special post-surgical garment to wear, designed to provide the right amount of support without putting pressure on your incisions. Both the skin closure strips and post-surgical garment serve to protect your incisions from tension during the initial healing phase. Do not  remove the closure strips or wear an underwire bra right away, as this will result in more noticeable scars down the road.

Two weeks after your surgery, your incisions should be fully closed and healing up nicely. At this point, Dr. Rechner says “you should gently apply a silicone topical ointment to your scars. There are a slew of options on the market when it comes to scar treatment products, but we recommend one with silicone as its main ingredient. The purpose of the silicone product is to keep your scar hydrated and prevent it from drying out as it continues to heal. Then, lightly massage your scars as you apply the silicone topical.” Massaging with the silicone topical helps organize the collagen and increase blood circulation to smooth the incision area and speed up the healing process.  On final note, Dr. Rechner stresses that “you need to be patient and give your scars time to fade. If you follow the post-operative instructions carefully, apply the silicone topical ointment with light massage and give it time, you should see your scars continue to fade nicely and be able to enjoy the new and improved you!”

Schedule Your Breast Surgery With the Centre for Plastic Surgery

Contact us today to get in touch with one of our board certified surgeons for all of your breast surgery needs. Our team is here to provide you with all the support you need from start to finish to make you feel your most confident self.