I'm getting a breast reduction. Is there a suturing technique that surgeons use that will leave me with the least amount of scarring?
Suturing Technique for Less Scars?
Doctor Answers (15)
Short scar or minimal scar techniques
Our before-after gallery has several examples of patients who had short scar surgery, had an unsatisfactory result, and had a surgery to convert those results to a longer-scar technique... with improved results!
So my colleagues are right on in noting that it is the surgeon, not the technique, that will give you the greatest chance of obtaining a great result.
It is often a mistake to try to get too much correction from minimal incisions techniques. A fine plastic surgeon who has "seen it all" can tell you which technique would be recommended ... and why.
Plastic surgeons are trained in the best suturing techniques to give you the best scar
A breast reduction is usually performed with a anchor shaped scar. This is an incision around the nipple areolar complex, then down the center of the breast and usually at or just above the inframamary fold. The breast tissue will be shaped and positioned with deep sutures. The skin will be brought together with several rows of sutures. There is a buried subcuticular layer of sutures which will pull the deep layer of skin together firmly and evert the skin edges. This is the most important layer. It takes the tension off the wound and this results in the least scaring. The outer layer of the skin may be closed with sutures that are removed later or maybe skin glue. This technique will give you the best scar possible and usually give a great result. Most of my patients biggest complaint about reduction mammoplasty is that they wish they had done it sooner. Good luck and God bless.
Breast Reduction And Suture Technique?
Thank you for the question.
Generally, layered closure of all tissue planes will allow for as little tension as possible on the superficial layers of skin. This relatively “tension free” closure of the final layer may help scars remain as fine as possible. You should keep in mind, that despite a surgeon's best efforts, some scars do not heal as well as he/she hopes.In these cases, scar revision surgery may be necessary.
Generally, breast reduction surgery is a very patient pleasing operation ( given the relief of symptoms) despite the presence of scars.
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Breast Reduction and Scarring
Unfortunately whenever you cut the skin you will get a scar and breast reduction surgery is associated with reasonably lengthy scars as a result of removing the excess skin, fat and breast tissue. Although the length of overall scar is an important issue, the quality of the scar is equally so and fortunately most scars will heal quite nicely. You will need to be patient however as the scars will change dramatically as they evolve over the year after surgery. Most plastic surgeons will use a multi-layered suture technique with fine sutures to lead to the most well healed scar. Unfortunately there is no magical technique.
Ways to obtain the best possible scars following breast reduction surgery
Surgical technique including placing virtually all of the sutures deep to the skin will help you obtain the best possible result given your particular genetic issues and skin characteristics. Longer lasting dissolvable sutures can protect the incisions for a greater period of time thereby providing you with the best opportunity to obtain narrower scars.
Using surgical tapes for a few weeks after surgery followed then by scar reduction agents such as Mederma, silicone gel or silicone strips are important as well.
I do recommend that you seek treatment from a reputable and qualified board certified Plastic Surgeon.
Silicone gel sheets for scar improvement after breast reduction
As some of the comments point out, the specific suture technique generally does not matter as much as the tension, patient genetics, age, etc. However, things can be done AFTER the surgery to minimize the scars. One option that has been demonstrated to work in well designed scientific studies is silicone gel which comes in sheets that can be applied to scars starting 1-2 weeks after surgery. For best results, it should be used at least 12 hours per a day for at least 2 to 3 months. The cost is about $100 to $200 for the length required for a breast reduction and it can be found on many internet sites.
Least Amount of Scarring
Although a patients genetic predisposition plays a very large role in scarring, there are a few surgical techniques that can minimize scarring:
1.tension free closure of the incision-this means ensuring the skin envelope is not too tightly closed over the remaining breast tissue
2. careful handling of tissues: crush injury to the tissue edges can lead to loss of blood supply (ischemia) and result in poor healing
3. appropriate antibiotic prophylaxis: taking precaution to minimize infection can minimize the risk of associated scarring.
4. wound dehiscence precautions: light activity without lifting for 4-6 weeks post breast reduction surgery will minimize your chance of a wound breakdown, which can result in significant scar formation.
I hope this helps and all the best in a safe and happy recovery
Paul S. Gill, M.D.
Gill Plastic Surgery
Houston Double Board Certified Plastic Surgeon
Appearance of scars with breast reduction
Scars are not a direct result of the suturing technique although it is one important factor. Other issues relate to a person's genetic tendencies for healing, the wound tension, suture material, medical history, age, etc.