Scarring is often a major concern for women considering breast augmentation; how visible the scars will be, where they will be, how long before they fade (and how thoroughly) are all questions I hear often at my practice. And, with the prevalence of many surgeons offering “scarless” procedures, the goal of zero scarring is even more attractive. But can you even get scarless breast augmentation?
The answer is “almost 100%, yes.” The reality is that any surgery involves some scarring, but the most current surgical techniques allow us to minimize the external signs drastically so that the incision site is small, inconspicuous, and virtually invisible. Effective breast augmentation techniques also allow us to control a major cause of scarring – poor healing. An experienced, highly trained, highly skilled surgeon who follows up appropriately after your breast augmentation procedure will take several steps to help ensure healthy healing, which not only minimizes downtime after your surgery but can also impact how soon incisions heal and fade.
Unfortunately, some of the most-touted “scarless” breast augmentations are actually not long-term augmentation procedures at all, but injection procedures where fat from one area of the body is moved to the breasts. While this option may sometimes get some positive results in the short term, in my opinion the effect is nowhere near as complete and natural as what we achieve with surgical approaches and, problematically, transplanted fat does not always behave properly in the volumes many of my patients would need to get the result they want.
Fortunately, with my patients scarring does not have to be the big concern it used to be, because the reality is that the techniques we use today help minimize how much tissue manipulation is actually involved in a “full-scale” surgical breast augmentation.
Reducing the Risk of Scarring
Especially in the short term, most patients should expect to see some scarring at the incision site (typically around the nipple, in the armpit, or below the breast fold). However, endoscopic and minimally-invasive surgical techniques, plus a number of advances in implant technology, now allow us to place implants through smaller incisions than ever before, while drastically minimizing the level of disruption to tissues.
To keep your risk of scarring to an absolute minimum, you should be aware of the two factors you can control:
- Surgeon choice – From a highly skilled surgeon, multiple types of implants and positioning options can create equally positive, shapely, and fast-healing results with virtually no visible signs of surgery. Choosing a less-qualified doctor on the promise of “no-scarring” techniques is unwise; make sure to view plenty of breast augmentation before and after photos at different stages of healing to understand the scope of your surgeon’s skills properly.
- Healing and follow-up – Make sure to follow all postsurgical care instructions from your surgeon; even factors like alcohol intake and physical activity can impact circulation and healing. Pay close attention to instructions about surgical tape or bandaging, and how long to wait before applying any products or post-surgery skin treatments to help ensure smooth results.
Dr. David Kaufman earned a bachelor of science degree from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, graduating with distinction, the highest academic honor. As an active duty naval special warfare officer, he served our nation for four years, including duty in Operation Desert Storm. He then attended Harvard Medical School, receiving his medical doctor degree in 1996. From there, he entered and completed postdoctoral surgical training in a combined general and plastic surgery residency at Stanford University Medical Center.
A board-certified plastic surgeon and member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Dr. Kaufman’s diverse surgical experience and skill enables him to choose procedures and techniques to best suit each patient. Consider him and his practice, Kaufman Plastic Surgery, if you are looking for a plastic surgeon in the Sacramento area.