Breast reduction is a plastic surgery procedure that treats overly large breasts. When the breasts become overly large, it creates a range of problems for the patient. Women with overly large breasts experience self-esteem issues, in addition to physical pain like backache, shoulder pain, and neck pain. To get rid of the condition, many women decide to undergo breast reduction surgery. The breast reduction procedure reduces the breast size by removing the excess skin and fat from the breasts, in addition to removing the excess glandular tissue and repositioning the nipples. The procedure is highly invasive and involves incisions that turn into scars. Many patients ask how they can avoid unwelcoming scars after breast reduction surgery. Breast reduction procedure and incisions Breast reduction surgery leaves scars on the breasts. To understand how the scars develop and how to reduce their visibility, you should first know what the procedure entails. Breast reduction is performed under general anesthesia. A board-certified anesthesiologist administers the anesthesia, and the plastic surgeon starts the procedure by making incisions on the breasts. The scar after the procedure depends on what type and length of incision have been used. The common incision techniques are the anchor and vertical methods. The anchoring method involves an incision on the areola that goes down vertically to the breasts and then horizontally down the breast crease. This incision technique results in more visible and lengthy scarring. On the other hand, the vertical technique involves an incision that begins in the areola’s edge and then goes vertically downward to the breast. The scarring is not extensive with this type of incision. Keep in mind that different types of incisions result in different scarring, length, and visibility. It is important for the patient to discuss the incision and scarring with the plastic surgeon ahead of the intervention. After making the incision, the plastic surgeon will remove the glandular tissue and fat from the breasts. Removal of the fat and tissue will result in excess skin on the breasts. It is important to remove the excess skin so the risk of breast sagging after the surgery is prevented. The doctor will carefully remove the excess skin from the breasts. Also, your nipples may become saggy and point down when the fat and tissue are removed. To restore the youthfulness and perkiness of the nipples, the surgeon will remove the nipples and graft them to a higher position. The plastic surgeon will then re-drape the remaining skin and then suture and close the incisions. The results of the surgery will gradually emerge in the following weeks or months. Scars from breast reduction surgery The incisions made during the surgery will gradually develop into scars. It will take some weeks for the incisions to turn into scars. Keep in mind that the procedure is not possible without scars. Scars are the tradeoff for the improvements you will achieve after the intervention. If you have no tolerance for scars, you must rethink your decisions to undergo breast reduction surgery. The scars after breast reduction simply indicate that your body is healing. It shows that your natural defense mechanism is in action to heal the surgical wound and recuperate you from the trauma of the intervention. The scar develops because your body produces collagen to close the cut on your breasts and save you from possible infections and other complications. The collagen develops scars at the site of incisions. Under normal conditions, breast reduction scars will fade and become less visible over time. If the incisions are placed strategically, you can expect the scars to be camouflaged in the hidden areas of the breasts. While the scars will become less noticeable after the surgery, they will not fully disappear. The scars are there to stay with you for a lifetime. The length and visibility of the scars depend to a greater extent on the incision technique used and the length of the incision. Avoiding unwelcoming scars after breast reduction surgery While most patients develop normal scars after the breast reduction procedure, some patients may get unwelcoming or abnormal scars. The risk of unwelcoming scar development is always there. An unwelcoming or abnormal scar is one that is raised, highly noticeable, large, and swollen. The two types of unwelcoming scars are keloid and hypertrophic scars. The main factors responsible for unwelcoming scars after the surgery include genetics, carelessness during recovery, exposure of the scars to direct sunlight, surgical error, smoking, diabetes, etc. Some people are genetically predisposed to developing unwelcoming scars. For example, if someone in your immediate family develops abnormal scars after even minor cuts on the body, there is a risk you too might have the same tendency. If you have a genetic tendency to develop unwelcoming scars, you should avoid the procedure. Carelessness during the recovery period is another common reason why some people develop abnormal scars. You must take sufficient rest and avoid doing physically strenuous activities for many weeks after the surgery to avoid unwelcoming scars. Activities like exercises, stretching, jogging, weight lifting, and jumping during the first six weeks after the surgery can result in wound dehiscence, which can trigger the development of abnormal scars. You can also avoid unwelcoming scars after breast reduction by avoiding sun exposure for six months after the surgery. When the scar is exposed to direct sunlight or other forms of heat during the six months following the operation, it can lead to unwelcoming scar development. Be sure to avoid exposing your breasts to the sun and heat for six months after the procedure to avoid abnormal scarring. When you go out, be sure to cover your breasts so sun exposure is prevented. Also, avoid going topless on the beach for six months. Smoking is another major cause of abnormal scarring after the breast reduction procedure. To avoid unwelcoming scars, you must stop smoking at least two weeks before the surgery and avoid smoking during the recovery period. Smoking hampers the supply of blood, nutrients, and oxygen to the incisions, which makes the scars develop abnormally. Smoking also leads to blood clotting, which is also a major factor of abnormal scarring. Pressure applied to the breasts during the recovery period can also trigger the development of abnormal scars. During the recovery period, you must avoid any movement, activity, or posture that can strain the incisions. Be sure to avoid sleeping on your front for at least two or three weeks after the surgery because it can exert pressure on your breasts, triggering bleeding, infection, and abnormal scarring. When an infection occurs, it too can lead to the development of abnormal scars on the breasts after the surgery. You can prevent possible infections by being careful during the recovery period. Also, if the surgeon has prescribed antibiotics, be sure to take them on time and according to the doctor’s instructions. Do not touch the incisions and never let any unauthorized person touch them. It is also important for the patient to wear the surgical bra after breast reduction surgery. Not doing so will increase your risk of unwelcoming scars. Another way to prevent abnormal scarring after the breast reduction surgery is by choosing a board-certified and experienced plastic surgeon to perform the intervention. A surgical error is one of the major causes of unwelcoming scars after the procedure. Breast reduction is a major surgery that necessitates the use of specialized techniques and artistry. In the US, any doctor can legally perform plastic surgery. As a result, many general physicians have started to pose as plastic surgeons. Having your surgeon performed by such doctors will only increase the risks for you. To avoid unwelcoming scars, choose your plastic surgeon very carefully. In case the scars after breast reduction have already become unwelcoming and abnormal, you may try some treatment options. However, the bad news is that most treatment options are not so effective. Treatments include the use of compression methods, massages, corticosteroid administration, radiotherapy, etc. The treatments should be used with greater care because there is a risk they may make the scars worse. Conclusion Breast reduction is a major plastic surgery procedure that effectively reduces the size of very large breasts. The procedure involves incisions, which ultimately develop into scars. Sometimes, the scars can develop abnormally and appear unwelcoming. There are many reasons why this happens. Those reasons have been explained above. The good news is that there are ways to avoid unwelcoming scars after breast reduction surgery. The methods to avoid unpleasant scars have been explained above.