How Can I Minimize Scars from Breast Reduction?

I just had breast reduction surgery. The scars seem to be settling, and I want to know what to put on them to minimize their appearance.

Doctor Answers 29

It is amazing how nice the incisions look after several months.


If you just had breast reduction surgery, listen to the recommendations of your plastic surgeon. Most surgeons prefer surgical tape or strips for the first few weeks. You can then progress to silicone sheets. However, they must be worn almost 100% of the time for several weeks to months to make a difference. The best thing for you to do right now is just wait. After your surgeon gives you the okay, I would recommend gentle massage over the incisions to help them soften. Scars/incisions go through a maturation process where they actually get slightly thicker (like a cord under the skin) as the collagen is rebuilding for the first six weeks. Then, over several months the incisions soften up and flatten out. When patients come back six months to a year out from surgery, it is amazing how nice the incisions look. As with all incisions, you should protect them from the sun with either clothing or SPF lotion.

New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 64 reviews

Breast Reduction Scar Management

A: Reducing Breast Reduction Scars
I have switched to a "lollipop" type of incison/scar for breast reductions which reduces scars by about 50 % vs a traditional anchor pattern scar.

Scar Management tips:
  1. Minimize tension on the scar. Embrace scar dressing is the best as it lessens tension directly on the wound. Steri-Strips and/or surgical tape are often placed in non-hair bearing areas to minimize tension and keep pressure over the scar. This minimizes the stress that can pull the scar apart (dehiscence) creating a wound and delaying healing time, and can make the scar wider, or more “ropy”.
  2. Keep your incision site/scar clean to prevent infection. Follow your surgeon’s wound care instructions to the letter with out modification. Never apply different products then recommended without first discussing them with your surgeon. This is especially important during the first few weeks. If there are any signs of infection, contact your surgeon’s office right away and/or see your doctor or his nurse immediately. Typical signs of infection may include redness outside the immediate incision site, asymmetric swelling, and drainage, of pus, fever, chills, and “feeling sick”.
  3. Protect your scars from the sun. Staying out of the sun is the best advice. Minimal exposure to sunlight is preventshyperpigmentation (permanently turning brown) and other problems that can make the scar more noticeable. Sunscreen, at least 30 SPF and an overlying make camouflage make up additionally protects the scar from the suns harmful rays. This advice is especially important the first year following your surgery.
  4. Use specific scar maturation products recommended by your surgeon. Patients seem to have their own opinions on this touting everything from Pure Vit E, Coco butter, to Aloe Vera, etc but most have minimal benefit other than keeping the scar hydrated. Although hydration is important there are better, scientifically studied products with greater efficacy. Most of the scientific articles written about this subject indicate that topical silicone gel or silicone sheets work the best. There are a lot of products to choose from, but silicone should be one of the key ingredients. Although Mederma, an onion extract derivative active ingredient rather than mainly silicone based may help, primarily silicone based products are better and many also contain other ingredients that may be synergistic (hydrocortisone or other steroid, Vitamin E, Sunscreen,etc). At the present time I prefer BioCorneum or Kelo-Cote products especially on areas that silicone strips aren’t applicable, for example, on the face. If the reader has problems obtaining these they can call my office. Patient compliance is also critical – use often and according to directions or it will not work optimally. NEVER apply products without first discussing them with your surgeon.
  5. Monitor to make sure your scar is progressing optimally. Keep your scheduled follow-up appointments with your surgeon to verify that your scars are maturing as expected. Occasionally if indicated you may need a topical steroid preparation or even a series of injections (5-FU and/or Steroids) or laser treatments to treat or prevent scar hypertrophy or keloid formation (red raised scars), or other topical medicines to treat post inflammatory hyperpigmentation (brown scars) with prescription creams and possible laser treatments.

For best scar managment in general see my below link on best practices for scar managment.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 72 reviews

Breast Reduction and Scarring?

Congratulations on having had the breast reduction procedure; it is one of the most patient pleasing operations we perform.
Time tends to improve the appearance of scars. You will find that the scars will improve in appearance even after a year has gone by.
Sometimes the use of silicone-based products. In the event of unfavorable scarring steroid injection may be helpful. The use of superficial radiation treatment is possible for symptomatic scars.  Sometimes scar revision surgery and careful scar management afterwards may be helpful. Despite anecdotal reports I have not seen significant improvement with laser treatment of scars.
Best wishes.

Scar sheets work well after breast reduction


Week only recommend that our patients used silicone scar sheets after a breast reduction surgery. These sheets help the scar heal in a flat and smooth fashion. The best scar sheets are typically found not in the pharmacy online. There are several vendors that are particularly effective. If you would like a list of vendors that may help please feel free to contact our office and we will forward the information to you.

Pat Pazmino, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

The best way to minimize the appearance of scars

For many years I have used paper tape on my patients' scars. I have found that this works the best; better than silicone sheets and other products. I use 1" paper tape that is brown is color, so it does not show through clothing. The tape is put on so that it is a little tight. The patient reapplies it when it is loose. The pressure from the tape helps the scars heal very nicely. Hope this helps.

Tracy M. Pfeifer, MD, MS

Tracy Pfeifer, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Tincture of time for most people

That is a very common question. The majority of peopl will heal fine without any topicla type treatment( silicone tape or sheeting, or topical salves). So, I always say that tincture of time is often the best medicine. That being said, I like to keep steristrips or paper tape on the incisions for at least 3-4 weeks.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Scar Treatment After Breast Reduction

There are a variety of over-the-counter products available for the treatment of scars. The two mainstay therapies that have been proven to be effective are pressure dressings and silicone based ointments. Both kinds of treatments have been shown to improve scars. I advise patients to use scar cream once the scar is well healed and stable, which is approximately 3 weeks after surgery. All scars improve in appearance with time. It can take a minimum of 6 months to one year for scars to fully fade. If any scars are not significantly improved after 1 year, additional more involved treatments may be needed. Microneedling can stimulate collagen remodeling and can improve the appearance of scars after they have fully healed. If the scar is dark and/or raised in appearance, injections with dilute steroids can improve them. Consult with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon to discuss which options are best for you.

John Diaz, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Bio Corenum Scar Treatment

Our chosen product to address scarring is Bio-Corneum+ (or BC+). Using BC+ will provide the best environment for the scar to heal and will help speed up the healing process. We recommend that all of our patients use this after their sutures are removed and their wound is closed. We carry this in our office as a convenience for you. It is a self-adhering, self-drying silicone gel that also contains a mild broad spectrum SPF 30. At suture removal, start applying BC+ twice a day to your scar for at least twelve weeks, or until you stop seeing noticeable results. If you have a tendency to form hypertrophic or keloid scars, you may want to use it for 6 months to a year. BC+ has been shown to help prevent the formation of these types Scar of scars. One drop is enough to cover a three inch scar. Spread a very thin layer of BC+ over the scar area. It should dry within a few minutes and will form a slick surface over your scar. BC+ will gradually wear off throughout the day, which is why we have you reapply it at night to make sure you are getting a solid 24 hour per day exposure to the silicone.    

Scar Massage Management Following Breast Reduction

The best treatment for scars is called scar massage. Basically this means you massage your incisions with some type of lotion. I tell my patients “it’s the rubbing not what you rub it with”. Silicone is great for scars as well. It helps to reduce the redness faster and flattens them. Many products are now available without prescription which contain silicone.

Ellen A. Janetzke, MD
Birmingham Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Kelo-cote to minimize scars

I recommend Kelo-cote to all of my patients.  It is a clear silicone cream that is put on the incision twice a day.  This will help the scar flatten and fade more quickly.  It can be used on new as well as old scars.

Jennifer Greer, MD
Cleveland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.