What Will My Scars Look Like After Breast Lift Surgery?

Published: April 1, 2022
Category: Dr. Christine Stewart, Breast Lift

The popularity and interest in Breast Lift surgery have dramatically increased over the past two decades. According to the Plastic Surgery Statistics Report of 2020, the number of Breast Lifts performed in the United States has increased by over 65% between the years 2000 and 2020. Yet, many women continue to feel reticent about pursuing this surgery due to fear of post-surgical scarring. Although scars are inevitable with Breast Lift surgery, most women find they are more than worth the trade-off to the higher, perkier, and more youthful-looking breast shape the procedure provides. Here is a timeline of what to expect in the appearance of your scars after Breast Lift surgery.

“Scarring is a major topic of discussion at every Breast Lift surgery consultation I conduct because the concern is so common amongst women,” shares Dr. Christine Stewart, a board-certified plastic surgeon, and partner with Edina Plastic Surgery. “Whether Breast Lift incisions follow a vertical “lollipop” pattern or an “anchor” design, post-surgical scars will be permanent. But, because they tend to fade so significantly throughout the course of one year, I have yet to have a Breast Lift patient who has not deemed the results well worth the scars. Plus, there is a lot patients can do to help accelerate healing, fade scars, and diminish their appearance over time.”

What can a patient do to improve the appearance of scarring after Breast Lift Surgery?

“Plastic surgery and scarring go hand in hand,” explains Dr. Stewart. “But rest assured that your plastic surgeon is hyper-focused on planning for the most minimal appearance of scarring possible. A patient needs to keep their eyes on the big picture of enjoying more youthful-looking breasts and the confidence this will induce, rather than becoming fixated on scars that they will barely notice within 24 months.”

Several factors may influence how a patient scars after Breast Lift surgery. These include genetics, skin quality and laxity, previous surgery, tension around stitches, and diligence with post-care instructions. Your plastic surgeon can influence almost all of these factors except genetics and how you care for your skin during recovery. If you are prone to keloid, or raised scarring, this may affect how you heal from Breast Lift surgery as well. Take inventory of the scars you currently have on your body and how your skin has healed. Do they have dark pigmentation? Have they healed to a fine, light line? If so, this may indicate how your skin will heal after Breast Lift surgery. 

“At Edina Plastic Surgery, we use post-surgical taping techniques to ensure unnecessary tension is not present along an incision as the skin heals. Constant pressure over the skin helps the scar flatten over time.  We also instruct our patients on how to incorporate light massage to help skin heal smoothly. After six months or so, we may recommend that patients utilize some treatments like laser resurfacing and microneedling at Skin Artisans, our medical skincare clinic, to ensure the best possible outcome with scarring.

SkinPen® Microneedling – Smooths scars and helps soften scar tissue

Sciton BBL™ Photorejuvenation – Lightens and blends pigmentation of scars

HALO™ Hybrid Laser Resurfacing – Gently resurfaces scar and blends pigmentation

Profractional Laser Resurfacing – Fractional laser ablation to resurface and smooth scars

Physician-grade Skincare – Suppresses, lightens, and blends pigmentation of scars and smooths skin

How scars appear the first 7-10 days after Breast Lift surgery

After surgery, you’ll wear an elastic bandage or a surgical bra over gauze dressings. Your breasts may be bruised, swollen and uncomfortable for a week or two, but the pain shouldn’t be severe. Any discomfort you feel can be relieved with medications prescribed by your surgeon. Incisions at this point will appear as a very faint line, because your body has not completely healed the incision by laying down collagen or increasing blood supply to the area. This is also why lifting restrictions are important to follow during this time, the scar has not gained strength yet, and extreme lifting and reaching can put tension on your incisions and worsen your scar quality. The first couple of weeks after surgery is when Edina Plastic Surgery recommend taping the incision to help provide pressure over the incision and also help reduce tension.

How scars appear one month after Breast Lift surgery

Most patients begin to get an idea of how their Breast Lift results will look after four weeks when most of the bruising and swelling have subsided. The breasts will initially look high after the surgery and then settle into your body’s natural “breast footprint,” which is the lower 1/3 of the sternum for most women. 

In the absence of wound healing issues after surgery, 3-4 weeks is when a silicone based scar gel and massage of the incisions can be started after surgery. Silicone strips can be started for patients with history of hypertrophic scarring, but due to the side effect of itching, that is pretty common, this is avoided for patients that appear to be scarring normally. Massaging with an emollient, Aquaphor or Vaseline, can also help with scarring as it is really the pressure and massage that makes the most difference with these types of post operative scar treatments.  Expect scars to still be slightly red or pinkish at this time as your body is replicating cells at an accelerated rate to heal itself. Scars may also be slightly raised and dense, which will subside over time.

In general, scars appear the worst 6-8 weeks after surgery. This is the time when your body is consolidating the collagen and when your scars are reaching their full tensile strength. Your body is shunting blood flow to the area to help this process, which can make incisions appear red.

How scars appear three months after Breast Lift surgery

After 8-12 weeks, the final results of Breast Lift surgery are more or less apparent. Your surgeon may recommend that you continue to wear a supportive bra for up to 6 months after surgery. All scarring is permanent but will continue to fade as time goes by. Patients can expect to see dramatically less breast sagging and fit more comfortably into clothing, lingerie, and swimsuits following this procedure. Scarring may continue to fade up to two years after surgery.

Image #1 – 55-year-old female, 5’5”, 123 lbs., who underwent a breast lift with small reduction.  89 grams on right and 92 grams on left.  Patient is 3.5 months post-op.  

Image #2 – 35-year-old female, 5’6”, 170 lbs., who had 2 children and subsequent deflation of her breasts.  She wanted fuller breasts but nothing that would inhibit her active lifestyle.  She underwent an augmentation mastopexy with silicone implants.  Sientra HSC + moderate plus 305cc.  Photos are 3 months post-op.

Image #3 – 25-year-old female, 5’4”, 160 lbs., who wanted lifted, fuller breasts.  She underwent a circumvertical mastopexy and breast augmentation with 230cc moderate profile Sientra silicone implants.  She also had liposuction along her lateral chest wall to help contour this area.  Post-op photos are 8 weeks after surgery.

Image #4 – 30-year-old female, 5’4:, 140 lbs. who has always had breasts that lack fullness.  She has had one child.  She desired a fuller profile to her breasts, but wanted something that still looked natural.  She had a circumvertical lift with breast augmentation.  350cc moderate profile Sientra silicone implants were placed.

“Scarring after Breast Lift surgery is unique to each individual’s biology and how they care for their skin during recovery and beyond,” explains Dr. Stewart. “The truth is, YOU play an integral role in how you heal from any surgery and the appearance of your results. Follow your post-care guidelines to the letter and constantly communicate with your plastic surgeon if you have concerns during your recovery. By doing so, you’ll enjoy scars that quickly fade and allow you to enjoy and focus on the beautiful benefits of your Breast Lift surgery!”

Are you considering Breast Lift surgery? Schedule a complimentary consultation to discuss your options with Dr. Christine Stewart or another board-certified plastic surgeon at Edina Plastic surgery by calling (612) 688-3177, texting (952) 925-1765, or CLICKING HERE.

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