Like with any aesthetic procedure, doing your homework and making sure you select a skilled, board-certified plastic surgeon practicing in-scope—and one who takes your individual anatomy into consideration—is key when it comes to breast-augmentation results and, likewise, the corresponding scar. “The best scar plastic surgeons make is the incision we don’t make,” stresses Vero Beach, FL plastic surgeon Alan J. Durkin, MD. Here are some additional moves plastic surgeons say come in a close second:
“The second-best scar we can make is the one we can conceal, and this is incredibly important in breast augmentation surgery. At our practice, we minimize the scar size to 3.5 centimeters regardless of implant size. This makes use of the Keller Funnel necessary to reduce the incision size,” Dr. Durkin explains. “Next, we individualize the patient’s anatomy to the incision used. For women with alabaster skin color and a salmon-colored nipple, we use a periareolar approach, as the scar will literally fade away in weeks to months. For women of color, or even for women with deep sun exposure, we tend to use inframammary incisions, or transaxillary incisions, as the nipple approach can darken with pre-existing pigmentation. Lastly, the closure technique really, really matters. We routinely employ a three-layer closure in every augmentation.”
Location, Location, Location
In that same theme, New York plastic surgeon Daniel Maman, MD counts the most important part of minimizing breast scars as choosing the right location, “not only whether it should be a periareolar or inframmary fold crease incision, but determining the exact level of the new fold,” he says. “If that’s determined correctly, the scars are barely visible.”
Again, this one is smart to take seriously when it comes to any surgery: “Follow your surgeon’s instructions,” emphasizes La Jolla, CA plastic surgeon Robert Singer, MD, who says he sees silicone sheeting working better than topical scar creams. Likewise, the Aesthetic Society strongly recommends paying attention to pre-op steps—including the big one of stressing patients stop smoking at least six weeks before undergoing cosmetic surgery to better promote healing.
Stay Out of the Sun
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons also promotes following your surgeon’s directions to a T both before and after surgery. Including the no-smoking rule, they recommend staying out of the sun, wearing SPF, eating nutritious foods and drinking plenty of water during the recovery period—all of which are vital steps the organization says can help accelerate the healing process and minimize the appearance of scars.
Give It Time
As Eugene, OR plastic surgeon Mark Jewell, MD shares, in his experience, it’s OK to put anti-scar tape or gels on the skin, but he recommends staying away from the oft-touted ingredient of vitamin E. “Other than that, we remind patients to leave scars alone, as they become flat and soft in approximately six months’ time.”
Ask Your Surgeon
Sounds simple enough, but this the Aesthetic Society suggests asking this trio of questions during a consultation: Will my scars be visible? Where will my scars be located? Is there any way I can minimize scarring? Also on the checklist: Ask to see your surgeon’s before-and-after images so you can get a better picture of what you might be able to expect results-wise.
Count on Genetics
While this one is left more to chance, Newport Beach, CA plastic surgeon Sanjay Grover, MD says, when it comes to scarring, genetics play a very big role. Besides that, he says “silicone scar gel or sheets are quite helpful for first three-to-six months,” as well as “steroid injection or 5-FU injection if scar is still thickened.”
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