Breast reduction surgery is a life-changing surgical procedure that can help patients overcome neck pain, improve their posture, and enjoy an elevated level of self-esteem. However, like any surgical intervention, some patients end up with unwanted scarring. A leading expert in plastic surgery, Dr. Birely has helped many patients achieve a higher quality of life with breast reduction surgery. The following tips are to help prospective breast reduction patients reduce scarring and enjoy a positive outcome.
Vitamin E oil
Vitamin E is renowned for its potent antioxidant properties and its ability to keep the skin healthy. Applying Vitamin E oil directly to scars can soften the skin and promote healing, leaving the area looking fresh. That said, it is vital that patients wait until the wounds have fully closed before applying any oils.
Silicone gel sheets
Silicone sheets are high on most plastic surgeons’ recommendation lists. These sheets are designed to hydrate the skin and reduce excess collagen production, which results in raised scars. The sheets are easy to apply and are obscured under clothing. To achieve the best results possible, patients are advised to use the sheets for at least 12 hours a day for the first few months following the surgery.
Limit sun exposure
Excess sun exposure is known to darken the pigments found in scar tissue, making them more noticeable. Applying a high-SPF sunscreen that is specially designed for newly healed skin is highly recommended when going outdoors. This tip is most important in the first few months following surgery, when the scars are still very fresh.
Lightly massaging the scarred area can aid in breaking down collagen fibers and improving blood circulation to the area. This can greatly speed up the healing process. Dr. Birely typically recommends that patients massage in a vertical motion, as this ensures optimal blood flow.
Moisturizing the incision sites is vital for ensuring a positive outcome with minimal scarring. Hypoallergenic moisturizing lotions help keep the skin soft and hydrated, which is a vital step in keeping scarring at a minimum. Applying moisturizer also reduces the likelihood of excessive swelling or raised scars.
There are various scar creams available today that are tailored to improve the appearance of surgical scars. These creams typically include ingredients that stimulate collagen production and enhance skin tone. Dr. Birely will make some recommendations on his preferred scar creams after the procedure.
Wearing a well-fitted support bra that minimizes tension on the scars can reduce the risk of thickening and exacerbating scar tissue. Supportive garments are also a vital component in the management of post-operative swelling.
While strenuous activity should be kept at a minimum during the first few weeks of recovery, light exercise is important for promoting proper blood circulation. Elevated circulation levels speed up the healing process and can result in less visible scars. Dr. Birely will help patients come up with a detailed timeline for when it is safe for them to resume physical activity following their treatment.
Refrain from smoking and drinking
Smoking and alcohol consumption can both put a hamper on the body’s natural healing mechanisms. Smoking leads to vasoconstriction (reduced blood flow), and alcohol causes dehydration. Both of these conditions are problematic during the healing process.
What is the takeaway?
Following these tips can have a significant impact on scarring following a breast reduction procedure. When all of the aforementioned protocols are combined, they create a comprehensive plan that keeps post-surgical scarring at a minimum. Dr. Birely has years of experience with breast reduction surgery and is happy to share his expertise with those who are interested in the treatment.
Reach out to our office today to learn more about our breast reduction procedures.