2 surgeons, performing a breast augmentation surgery

Scarring and Breast Surgery

When undergoing any cosmetic surgery procedure such as Breast Augmentation, Breast Lift, Facelift or Tummy Tuck there will be incisions made into your skin. Any surgical incision will result in some level of scarring, the final appearance will depend on a number of factors including:

  • Location on your body (zones of tension, skin folds etc)
  • Surgical technique (internal/external sutures, staples etc)
  • Post-operative strategy (tapes, scar gel etc)
  • Your personal anatomy and medical history (age, genetics, ethnicity, hormonal treatments etc)
  • Environmental factors (e.g. sun exposure) 
  • Behavioural factors (e.g. smoking).

Scarring stages post surgery

The scar healing process for a surgical wound goes through 3 main phases:

  • Haemostasis & Inflammation: The first phase begins immediately after surgery and lasts around 2 weeks. The skin cells multiply and synthesise the main components of the dermis (collagen and elastin fibres in particular). The wound heats up, pain increases, redness spreads.
  • Proliferation: Usually from day 4 up to day 21. The scar changes, a sign of deep-down remodelling. The scar becomes inflammatory, which means redder, sometimes harder, more raised and is often itchy. The scar will be slightly higher than the surrounding skin. During the scar healing process, the colour of the scar will fade and its volume will decrease.
  • Remodelling: From around 21 days the scar enters its final phase when it begins to become paler and softer (remodelling). At the end of this process, which varies in duration and can take up to 2 years, the scar will take on its final appearance: paler, softer and insensitive.

Example of what Breast Augmentation surgery scarring may look like during these phases

All photos are of the same incision site:

Scarring, phase 1: 1 week post surgery
PHASE 1 - 1 week post surgery
Scaring, phase 2: 1 month post surgery
PHASE 2 - 1 month post surgery
Scarring, phase 3: 6 months post surgery
PHASE 3 - 6 months post surgery

Examples of different types of Breast Lift surgery scarring

Different types of incisions are used depending on what Breast Lift surgery technique is required for your personal situation. Our surgeons will use either Lollipop or an Anchor lift. The type of lift will depend on the amount of breast tissue required lifting. This will be discussed and determined in your surgeon consult.

Illustration of different scarring techniques for breast surgeries.
Breast augmentation surgery, before and after.

To achieve the best possible scar outcome, consider the following:

  • Massage – Gentle massage (even with just the index finger pressing down) once the incision is closed can help with any lumps or bumps that occur along the way. Gentle pressure applied for 2-3 weeks along a scar can help.
  • Taping – Tape can reduce the chances of scars being raised and are effective at applying gentle pressure to the skin. Tape also acts as a barrier between scars and UV exposure. Ideally taping is continued for 3 months post procedure until the scar is flat and pale.
  • Moisturising scars – Moisturising helps prevent the scars from drying out- which may lead to cracking and more scar tissue forming. Once your scar has closed and you have approval from your surgeon, the use of Vitamin E and Rosehip is great.
  • Sun avoidance – Minimise sun exposure to all fresh scars (up to 3-6 months) as UV Radiation can prolong the redness and at times cause permanent pigment changes within scars.
    Taking vitamins post surgery and staying hydrated- Multivitamins that include vitamin C, E, Zinc, B and A are all very good for the skin. Make sure you get plenty of these vitamins while healing and drink lots of water.
  • Don’t smoke – It is imperative to avoid smoking at all costs post surgery! Smoking decreases the oxygen levels in your blood which will slow down your healing and also opens you up to additional risks. See our Smoking article for more details.

Follow your surgeon’s recommendations on using scarring gels, creams or tapes. Each individual is different so scarring treatments vary.