Introduction If your breasts have become severely saggy and the condition is affecting your self-esteem, you may be a good candidate for the breast lift. The surgery involves incisions on the breasts that ultimately develop into scars. Scarring after the operation can be scary to many patients. Therefore, it is essential to discuss scarring after the breast lift with your plastic surgeon during the consultation session. Despite the fact that the breast lift leaves scars on the breasts, hundreds of thousands of women undergo the procedure each year in the US to enhance their breasts. Women desire to have tighter and perky breasts because it makes them look younger and beautiful. Saggy breasts look aesthetically unwelcoming and affect your overall appearance in negative ways. One of the rare but serious problems that you may encounter after the breast lift is the development of abnormal scars. Scarring after the breast lift To understand why and how abnormal scarring occurs after the breast lift, you should first know why the scars develop at all. Scarring is a regular but permanent side effect of the breast lift. The breast lift is a major plastic surgery procedure that cannot be performed without incisions. Incisions on the breasts are needed so that the plastic surgeon can tighten the breast muscles and remove the excess skin from the breasts. The size and amount of scars that the breast lift will leave on your breasts depend on the incision technique used during the operation. The incision technique in turn depends on how saggy your breasts are and what types of improvements you want to get. What this means is that if your breasts are severely saggy and you want to get perky breasts, the size of incisions required will be more significant. As a result, the resulting scars will also be large and more prominent. On the other hand, if your breasts are moderately or mildly saggy, you will need smaller incisions. As such, the incisions will develop into more modest and less visible scars. The plastic surgeon can tell you best as to what incision techniques can deliver you the desired results. Be sure to consult only with a board-certified plastic surgeon who has experience in the breast lift. During the consultation session, make sure to discuss the incisions and scarring. A good plastic surgeon will always explain the incision options with you and then recommend you the best option. You can ask the surgeon about the pros and cons of each incision technique and what types of scars they will leave on the breasts. Keep in mind that scarring after the breast lift is unavoidable. In other words, the operation cannot be performed without scars on the breasts. The scars develop because your breasts get incisions during the surgery. To seal the incisions and defend you from possible infections, your body generates an increased level of collagen that seals the incisions by creating scars. In more than 90 percent of breast lift cases, the scarring happens normally. They develop and then fade and become less visible over time. The plastic surgeon can use specific techniques to hide these scars within the breast crease. In rare cases, abnormal scarring can happen. Abnormal scarring after the breast lift In a majority of cases, breast lift scars develop normally. But there is a rare chance that the scars may develop abnormally. Abnormal scars are more visible, rough, raised, bumpy, and aesthetically horrible. The two major kinds of abnormal scars that may improve after the breast lift are called keloid and hypertrophic scars. These scars develop as a result of severely stiff collagen that extends the scars through the skin and tissue and chunks the tissue revival process. Nobody wants to get abnormal scars after the breast lift because they not only look worse but also dominate the results. You must discuss the topic of abnormal scarring with the plastic surgeon during the pre-operative consultation. The breast lift, which is performed under general anesthesia, involves several steps that go a long way toward determining the shape and size of the scar that will develop after the procedure. During the first step, the plastic surgeon will create incisions on the breasts. The incisions can be of different types and shapes depending on how saggy your breasts are. After making the incisions, the plastic surgeon will get access to the underlying muscles and tighten them. In the next phase, the plastic surgeon will reposition the nipples to enhance their perkiness and shape. He will then excise the surplus skin from each breast. The surgeon will then suture and close the incisions. Once the incisions are closed, your body will start to produce more collagen to help the incisions heal. However, different factors can trigger the production of collagen level that is higher than what is required to seal the incisions normally. Overproduction of the collagen causes the scars to become abnormal. The first reason why abnormal scarring happens after the breast lift has to do with the genetic makeup of the patient. According to one study, the majority of patients that get abnormal scars after the breast lift get such scars due to genetic reasons. What this means is that if someone in your immediate family like your parents or grandparents have a genetic pre-dominance of getting abnormal scars on the body when an incision is made, it indicates that you may also be at risk of abnormal scarring. Furthermore, it has been found that dark-skinned patients are more at risk of abnormal scarring than light-skinned patients. Next, the incision suturing and closing techniques also go a long way toward determining whether you will get abnormal scars after the breast lift. If the plastic surgeon is not skilled or is inexperienced, he or she may use the wrong incision suturing and closing techniques. As a result, you will be at higher risk of abnormal scarring after the procedure. Aftercare is yet another factor that would determine your risk of getting abnormal scars after the breast lift. Pressure and strain applied to the incisions during the recovery period may trigger incision splitting that can lead to the development of abnormal scars. To avoid abnormal scars, plastic surgeons recommend the patients to avoid sleeping on their front for at least two weeks after the surgery. Also, you must avoid strenuous activities for six weeks following the procedure because any action that can trigger wound dehiscence may lead to abnormal scarring. Wound dehiscence can also trigger infection, excessive bleeding, and poor and slow wound healing – all of which are linked with abnormal scar development. There is no doubt that abnormal scars can make your breasts look aesthetically unpleasant, so much so that it can overshadow the results. You can ask the plastic surgeon to give you tips about how to avoid abnormal scar development after the breast lift. Make sure to do your research and go fully prepared for the consultation session. A good plastic surgeon will always answer your questions and address your concerns about abnormal scarring after the surgery. You must also bear in mind that the scar development after the breast lift can take many months and even years to complete and become mature. When the scars first develop, they may look more visible and raised. At this point, you must not get concerned. Your body needs more time to improve the appearance of the scars. The scar development goes through many stages during the months and years following the operation. It can take more than one year for the scar to mature and reach a final stage after the breast lift. If the scars are raised, rough, and more visible even after 18 months past the surgery, you can then seek treatment for the condition because it indicates abnormal scarring. The treatment options for abnormal scars include corticosteroid injection into the scars after every six weeks for many months, laser treatment, cryotherapy, and bleomycin. However, there is a risk that these treatments may even make the scars worse if they fail to make them smooth and normal. Conclusion Sagginess in the breasts is one of the common conditions that hundreds of thousands of women suffer from in the US each year. There is no doubt that saggy breasts look unpleasant to the eyes. Fortunately, the breast lift can effectively restore your tighter and firmer breasts. It involves excision of the excess skin from your breasts and tightening of the breast muscles. Since the surgery involves incisions, you will get scars on your breasts. In most cases, the scarring happens normally, but abnormal scarring after the operation cannot be ruled out. In this article, I have explained abnormal scarring after the breast lift, why it happens, and how it can be prevented and treated.