When discussing the risks of breast surgery, one of the major concerns of most patients is scarring. As with all surgical procedures, there is a risk of scarring after breast surgery. Whether you are undergoing breast surgery for medical or cosmetic reasons, it is important to consider this risk while planning the procedure.
After breast surgery, the scars typically form along the incision lines needed by the surgeon. Depending on the type of breast surgery and the methods used by your chosen surgeon, the incisions needed may be minimal or lengthy. They may be placed in the belly button or armpit, around the nipple, or extending down the front of each breast or horizontally underneath the breasts. Discuss the options with your surgeon ahead of time so that you know where the incisions will be placed, and therefore where you can expect scarring after surgery.
While the incisions are usually situated to minimize the risk of scarring, some degree of scarring is to be expected after breast surgery. The scars may be faint white lines or raised, red bumps. Usually, the scars fade gradually over the next six months to a year, blending with the color of the surrounding skin and becoming less noticeable. There are products on the market such as creams and oils that claim to help reduce the appearance of scars. In general, however, the only thing that will help scars fade is time.
The degree of scarring varies from patient to patient, and cannot be accurately predicted before the surgery. However, there are several risk factors that tend to make scars appear more significant. Those who smoke are advised to stop at least a few weeks before the surgery, as smoking can interfere with the healing process. There are also some medications that can prolong recovery and make scars appear more prominent. It is important to follow your surgeon's aftercare instructions to help the incisions heal and reduce the risk of scar formation.
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