After size, scarring is the biggest concern of breast augmentation patients. While the patients’ goal is to have an augmented or natural teardrop look with their results, they are still concerned about the appearance of the scars. No matter how a breast augmentation is performed, scars are inevitable since the implants are inserted into the breast.
After surgery, patients often ask the best way to take care of the scars to get the best results. The best chance for success has a surgeon who is meticulous and detailed in their sewing technique. The second most important factor in postoperative scarring is the patient’s DNA. Unfortunately, some patients scar less well than others, and if you have this tendency, there is not much that can be done to improve this.
What to Apply to Hide your Scars
Beyond these two factors here are the top 5 interventions that you can do to help improve scars.
Keeping your scar protected from UV light is one of the most important things you can do to hide your scars. Exposure to UV light (of any kind – sun or tanning bed) results in darkening of the scar color. This practice frequently leads to a more noticeable scar as it sits against the lighter natural skin color. A thin white line is frequently undetectable, but a darker line can be quite obvious. Thus, avoid direct sunlight for a full year following the surgical procedure.
- Silicone Sheeting
Taping a thin sheet of flexible silicone over the scar has been one of the few treatments ever to improve scar appearance. Scars that are tending toward hypertrophy and becoming thicker can be improved by the continued application of silicone sheeting over the scar. This approach normally takes months to get the full effect. It is painless, but a true exercise in patience.
- Scar Creams
Scar creams are marketed everywhere (e.g., Mederma and Scar Fade) as a safe and easy way to improve post-operative scarring. Most of the creams have a liquid silicone component in addition to sunscreen and often a cortisone component to help decrease inflammation. Despite the well thought out combination of ingredients, there is little difference seen in scars treated with these products. This can be a difficult study to undertake as there are many variables involved in the healing process. If patients are motivated to do everything in their power, there is normally no harm in using these products. However, there is frequently no additional benefit.
- Scar Taping
Keeping hypoallergenic tape (such as Steri-strips) over scars for weeks to even months can help keep it protected from the environment, as well as apply continued pressure on it. Collagen responds to pressure or massage, and thus the presence of tape helps to keep scars flat.
It also protects the scars from UV light and irritation from bra or clothing. There is little downside to prolonged taping as it is inexpensive and painless.
One of the most effective and successful treatments for troublesome scarring is the injection of a product normally used in chemotherapy or the topical treatment of skin cancers. 5-FU is an excellent option to help reduce the thickness of hypertrophic scars. This product, when injected, helps to turn off the cells that lay down collagen – fibroblasts. It can also be helpful to soften and thin the scars. Unfortunately, this is something that has to be performed by your physician. Often, this is repeated over the course of weeks to months to help achieve the best final result.
To learn more about your options for breast augmentation surgery, call our San Diego practice at 858-638-9800 to schedule an in-person consultation.
About The Author
Dr. Vincent Marin is a board-certified plastic surgeon who offers first-rate services at La Jolla and San Diego. Dr. Marin provides his patients with the highest level of skill and artistry, using state-of-the-art technology to deliver safe and beautiful results.