Breast reduction surgery, technically known as reduction mammaplasty, is a transformative procedure that offers both physical and aesthetic benefits. It is a surgical process that involves removing excess breast tissue, fat, and skin to achieve a more proportionate and balanced breast size. This surgery goes beyond cosmetic appeal as it also addresses the physical discomfort associated with overly large breasts, such as back pain, poor posture, and skin irritation.
What causes scarring?
Scarring is a natural aftermath of any surgical procedure, including breast reduction. During the surgery, the plastic surgeon creates incisions in strategic locations to remove the excess breast tissue and reshape the breasts. The pattern of these incisions, which eventually form the scars, can vary based on several factors such as the size and shape of the breasts, as well as the surgeon’s preferred technique. Some of the common incision patterns include the ‘lollipop’ pattern, which involves making an incision around the areola and vertically down to the breast crease, and the ‘inverted-T’ or ‘anchor’ pattern, which involves an additional horizontal incision along the breast crease. These incision patterns are designed to provide the surgeon access to the underlying breast tissue while minimizing visible scarring.
Types of scars from breast reduction
The types of scars that result from breast reduction surgery can vary greatly. The location and appearance of these scars depend on several factors, including the surgical technique used, the size of the reduction, and the patient’s unique characteristics such as age, skin type, and genetics. Some common locations for breast reduction scars include around the areola, vertically down the breast, and along the crease of the breast. While these scars are an inevitable part of the surgical process, their appearance can be significantly improved with proper care and management.
Why scarring varies from person to person
The variation in scarring from one individual to another after breast reduction surgery can be attributed to several factors. First, the experience and expertise of your surgeon play a significant role in the appearance of your scars. Surgeons who have extensive experience in performing reduction mammoplasty are likely to have a better understanding of how to minimize scarring and optimize the healing process. Second, genetics can also influence how your body scars. Some individuals are more prone to scarring than others, and this tendency can be inherited. Third, age and hormonal status can affect the healing process. As we age, our skin loses its elasticity and our ability to heal slows down. Women undergoing a reduction mammoplasty during or after menopause may also experience a slower healing process due to hormonal changes. Lastly, skin type can significantly affect the appearance of scars. Individuals with lighter skin tend to develop less noticeable scars, while those with darker skin are more likely to experience significant scarring.
Proper post-surgery care
Proper care after breast reduction surgery is critical in preventing excessive scarring and facilitating optimal healing. Immediately after the procedure, the incisions are closed with sutures, and dressings or surgical tape are applied. It’s normal to experience swelling, bruising, and discomfort during this early stage of healing. Your plastic surgeon will provide detailed instructions on wound care, medication, and the necessity of wearing a supportive bra. Adhering to these guidelines is essential to aid in proper healing and scar management.
Significance of following surgeon’s guidelines
Following your surgeon’s post-operative guidelines after breast reduction surgery is essential for managing scarring effectively. There is a significant need for rest and to avoid strenuous activities during the initial healing phase. Engaging in vigorous exercise too soon can put stress on the healing tissues, potentially leading to widened or more pronounced scars.

During the scar maturation process, new collagen is formed at the site of the incision, and over time, the red, raised appearance of the scar typically decreases. This natural evolution can take up to a year or more, depending on the individual’s skin type and overall health.

Protecting the scar from direct sunlight is crucial during this period. UV radiation can have an adverse effect on the scar’s appearance, leading to potential hyperpigmentation and a delay in the fading process. Adherence to your surgeon’s specific scar care recommendations, which may include the use of silicone sheets, gels, or sunscreen, is integral in achieving the best possible aesthetic outcome post-surgery.

Treatments for scar reduction

Scar prevention products
After breast reduction surgery, optimal scar care is essential for both aesthetic and healing purposes. Surgeons often recommend specific techniques to ensure the best outcomes. Scar massage is one such technique that not only improves blood circulation to the affected area but also assists in breaking down dense scar tissue. Additionally, it encourages collagen remodeling, an important factor in the scar maturation process. The benefit of this kind of mechanical manipulation lies in its ability to make scars less noticeable and to promote more pliable, softer scar tissue.

Sometimes, silicone sheets and scar gels can be recommended for your postoperative scar care regimen. These products can provide essential hydration to the skin, which is a critical factor in maintaining its elasticity and promoting proper healing. Acting as a protective barrier, they also shield the sensitive scar area from external irritants while keeping it moist, which can significantly contribute to less conspicuous scarring.

Healthy lifestyle
Adopting a healthy lifestyle is a key component in preventing excessive scarring and promoting optimal healing after breast reduction surgery. This involves eating a balanced diet rich in nutrients, staying hydrated, and engaging in regular physical activity. These practices not only support overall health but also contribute to skin elasticity, an important factor in the healing process. It’s also crucial to avoid smoking and the use of nicotine products both before and after surgery. Smoking can hinder the healing process by reducing blood flow and oxygen supply to the tissues, leading to suboptimal wound healing.

Non-surgical medical procedures
In some cases, non-surgical medical procedures may be recommended to further improve the appearance of breast reduction scars. These treatments include laser therapy, chemical peels, and corticosteroid injections. Laser therapy can help reduce scar redness, flatten hypertrophic scars, and improve overall scar texture by stimulating collagen production and promoting scar remodeling. Chemical peels involve the application of a chemical solution to the skin, removing the top layers and encouraging new, healthier skin to regenerate, which can help reduce hyperpigmentation and improve the texture of the scarred area. For hypertrophic or keloid scars, corticosteroid injections may be recommended to reduce scar thickness, redness, and inflammation, resulting in a flatter and less noticeable scar. These treatments should be discussed with a board-certified plastic surgeon, who can provide personalized recommendations based on your specific needs.

Surgical scar revision
In cases where breast reduction scars are particularly prominent or unsatisfactory, surgical scar revision is an option to consider. This procedure specifically targets the refinement of the scar’s contour to minimize its visibility, thereby achieving a cosmetically enhanced appearance. Electing for scar revision is a decision that necessitates close discussion with a qualified plastic surgeon. They can provide an expert assessment of the scar and evaluate your overall health to establish whether you are an optimal candidate for this form of surgical intervention.

Myofascial Release Therapy
Myofascial release (MFR) therapy serves as a beneficial addition to the repertoire of scar management options. For individuals managing breast reduction scars, MFR presents a potent approach to enhance healing and aesthetic outcomes. As mentioned above, hands-on techniques such as scar massage can be extremely beneficial for scar management. MFR therapists execute precise, sustained pressure and stretch to fascial tissues of the body, focusing on alleviating pain while restoring mobility. MFR therapy also encourages increased blood flow and disintegration of the restrictive scar tissue. Such physiological responses can significantly diminish the visibility and texture of scars, making them less pronounced over time.

More on myofascial release therapy
As mentioned above, myofascial release (MFR) therapy is a hands-on therapy that involves applying gentle, sustained pressure into the fascial tissue. Fascia is a type of thin, strong, fibrous connective tissue that extends throughout the body to provide support and protection to the muscles, bones, and cells. By applying pressure to this tissue, MFR therapists can help eliminate pain and restore motion that may have been affected by the scar tissue.
How MFR can help scarring
MFR therapy can help scarring by releasing restricted fascia and restoring mobility to the connective tissue that may have been negatively impacted by scar formation. Its hands-on techniques also enhance blood flow to the scarred area, promoting essential nutrient delivery, and aiding the removal of waste products.

The therapy’s ability to break down scar tissue is vital for rehabilitation. As scar tissue is softened and the underlying fascia is mobilized, patients often experience an improvement in flexibility, leading to decreased pain and increased range of motion. Moreover, as the fascial system is a continuous web that extends without interruption throughout the body, MFR’s impact on one area can lead to benefits in other connected areas, providing holistic improvement.

What to expect during an MFR treatment session
Entering an MFR treatment session, you might have questions about the process: How does it work? What will I feel? Understanding what occurs can ease your mind and optimize your experience. Each treatment is personalized; however, there are common elements you can anticipate.

Therapists begin by assessing your body, looking for areas of tightness or restriction that could be contributing to your discomfort or scar tissue formation. They also will assess the scar tissue in question. As your session progresses, expect a hands-on approach which we have alluded to above. The sensations during MFR can vary. Some patients describe experiencing gentle stretching or a sense of opening within their body. Others may feel a notable release of pressure or an improvement in mobility. Post-session, it’s common to notice a reduction in pain and an uptick in movement fluidity. You might also feel a profound relaxation as if layers of tension have been peeled away.

Finding a certified MFR therapist

Finding the right therapist is crucial to receiving effective and safe MFR therapy. At MFR Health, we’ve made this process easier by creating a directory of therapists who are trained and certified in the John F. Barnes technique, a leading approach in MFR therapy. By connecting with a certified MFR therapist through our platform, you can feel confident that you are receiving treatment from a professional who understands the nuances of MFR and how to apply it effectively for scar management. To begin your journey, find a therapist today.

Individual differences in healing
As we wrap up our discussions on scar management, it’s important to acknowledge the distinctive nature of each person’s recovery process. The variance in scar appearance and healing after breast reduction surgery is influenced by a myriad of individual factors. These include the surgical technique utilized, the extent of reduction performed, as well as personal attributes such as age, skin type, and genetic predispositions. Scarring is a natural outcome of any surgical intervention, but its visibility can be considerably diminished over time with attentive care and a commitment to following appropriate treatment protocols. It’s essential to understand that scars mature and fade at different rates for everyone, and this patient approach can facilitate a more positive outcome. Allow yourself the time your body needs to remodel and heal, and in doing so, you can fully appreciate the transformative results of your breast reduction procedure.