Virtually all elective cosmetic surgery procedures involve a trade-off that patients are willing to make. The benefits of enhancing their appearance—and the increased confidence they feel—in exchange for scars that result from incisions. A skilled plastic surgeon makes incisions as inconspicuous as possible, and therapeutic products help minimize the appearance of scarring.
For a procedure such as a breast lift, an incision often needs to be made on the underside of the breast, extending from the areola to the base. Ensuring these incisions heal well helps reduce the scar’s appearance. In this post, I’ll discuss the different breast lift incisions and how long it takes for them to heal properly.
Incision Options for a Breast Lift
Breast skin loses its elasticity for several reasons, including pregnancy, weight fluctuations, and the effects of aging and gravity. A breast lift elevates and tightens breasts by reshaping breast tissue and removing excess skin. The incisions needed to accomplish these goals vary, depending on the degree of sagging.
The names of the incision location options describe the shape. These include:
“Donut” lift: If you have minimal breast sagging, a donut-shaped incision around the dark skin surrounding the nipple can produce the desired results. The resulting scar is nicely camouflaged, but few patients who want breast lift surgery can benefit from this approach.
“Lollipop” lift: Adding a vertical incision down the underside of the breast to the donut-shaped incision around the areola creates a lollipop or keyhole pattern. Up to 60 to 70% of my breast lift patients are good candidates for this approach, which I use for patients with minimal to moderate sagging. Including breast implants can add fullness to the lifted breasts.
“Anchor” lift: For patients with significant sagging, I add a third, horizontal incision along the base of the breasts to the 2 incisions described above. This forms the shape of an anchor, or inverted T, and can also be combined with implants.
When Do Breast Lift Incisions Heal?
Each person is unique and that includes how quickly someone heals after surgery. Patients who closely follow our postoperative instructions and properly care for their incisions likely will see their incisions heal more rapidly. In most cases, incisions begin closing and healing within the first 1 to 2 weeks after your surgery.
It’s important to keep the area surrounding the incisions clean and not submerge them in water. When showering, avoid having water spray the incisions directly. Once the incisions close, your scars will appear reddish and then pinkish. Ultimately, scars tend to fade gradually during the first year after surgery, so it’s important to be patient.
Some ways to help minimize the appearance of your scars include:
- Keeping skin moisturized
- Not smoking
- Avoiding sun exposure
- Using scar therapy products that we recommend
- Not putting tension on the incisions for 6 weeks
- Attending all follow-up appointments
No one likes having scars on their breasts, but they will fade. The vast majority of patients who have reasonable expectations before breast lift surgery believe the procedure results are worth it.
Have More Questions About Breast Lift Surgery?
If you’re unhappy with the appearance of your breasts because of sagging, a breast lift can create a more youthful look. Request a consultation using the online form to meet personally with Dr. Masters to discuss your goals. You can also call our Oklahoma City plastic surgery practice at (405) 849-6354 to schedule an appointment.