One of the most common questions that patients ask Dr. Vincent Marin is about scarring following a breast augmentation cosmetic procedure. The amount of scarring may vary from patient to patient, depending upon type of augmentation surgery, thickness of skin, breast size, and genetic predisposition toward excessive scar formation. Nevertheless, there are a variety of ways in which breast augmentation scars can be minimized.
Surgical Techniques to Reduce Scarring
There are a variety of ways to insert breast implants. Most are designed so that scars will be hidden under clothing, bras, and even bikini swimsuit tops. Implants can be inserted in the fold under the breast (inframammary), around the areola (peri-areolar), or through the armpit (transaxillary).
Of all these techniques, the inframammary approach will result in the most visible amount of scarring on the breasts themselves. However, scarring is quite discreet. In most cases, the scars will not be noticeable unless the breasts are lifted. With the inframammary technique, the scar is placed under the breast, so it will fall along the natural crease line where the breast meets the ribcage. The nerves around the areola, as well as the milk ducts should be spared, so the nipple will retain both sensation and function. Another advantage is that if a second augmentation procedure is needed, such as to replace or remove implants, the scar can just be used for the new incisions, thereby reducing the need for a second, new scar.
With the peri-areolar technique, the scarring is camouflaged in the area where the darker skin of the nipple meets the skin of the breast. If a second breast implant revision procedure is required, the surgeon may be able to re-use the old scar lines. The disadvantage to this approach, however, is that very large silicone gel implants can’t be inserted through this incision, and the approach is associated with a higher risk of loss of nipple sensation and the inability to breastfeed.
The transaxillary technique results in some noticeable scarring, however the scarring is present in the armpits, not on the breasts themselves. Scars under the armpits may be more noticeable than those placed under the breasts, as they won’t be covered when patients are wearing swimsuits or tanktops. Additionally, the transaxillary technique cannot be used for a second procedure.
In a few cases, cosmetic surgeons may recommend a trans-umbilical technique. In this technique, a long, thin tube is inserted from the bellybutton up to under the breast. A tightly-rolled saline implant is then inserted. Silicone implants cannot be used inserted in this technique. The procedure results in little scarring, but it is far more difficult to place the implant. As such, Dr. Marin does not recommend this technique.
Tips to Reduce the Appearance of Scars
It is important to keep the incision site clean and dry. Wash the hands with antibiotic soap before changing any dressings. Do not touch the incision directly. Once the incision is fully healed over, scar reducing creams or silicone sheeting may be applied to help minimize the appearance of scars.
It is possible for patients to have the breasts they want without worrying about how to hide unsightly scars. Dr. Marin will discuss options with patients during the consultation visit. Contact Marin Aesthetics to find out if you are a good candidate for breast augmentation surgery.10:58 PM