Anchor Breast Lift Scar?

How does an anchor breast lift scar feel like? Is it normally a raised scar?

Doctor Answers 20

The anchor scar

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The anchor or inverted-T mastopexy is recommended for patients with severe ptosis, poor skin quality, and/or flaccid breast tissue. This technique, which is the most popular in the United States, uses an incision around the nipple-areolar complex, a vertical incision from the bottom of the nipple to the inframammary fold, and a horizontal incision along the entire extent of the inframammary fold. The larger incisions allows for the greatest access and reshaping of the breast tissue as well as removal of the greatest amount of skin in multiple directions. This results in a dramatic change in nipple position and shape required for many older patients with greater degrees of sagging. The main advantages of this technique are that the results are uniformly predictable and allow for correction of large degrees of ptosis. The obvious disadvantage is the scar burden. Additionally, with time patients may notice a tendency towards “bottoming out” or flattening of the breast and/or recurrent drooping.

Tampa Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

Never say never

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The "gold standard" for breast lift surgery for many decades has been the so called "anchor scar" technique. As you see from these answers, that gold standard may be shifting to the lollilop or vertical lift techniques. This transition is by no means complete and many, if not a majority of plastic surgeons across the country still use the anchor scar. I am personally still somewhat in the transition phase and now more often use the vertical lollilop scar, reserving the anchor for severe cases of sagging and very large reductions. However, I will never say that I will never use the anchor again. At any rate, the anchor scar normally heals as a flat, soft, thin scar. Any scar can become raised depending on many factors, not the least of which includes your genetics. Good luck!

Breast Lift Scarring?

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Thank you for the question.

Every patient heals differently;  therefore, it is difficult to predict exactly what your breast lift scar will “feel like”. Best case scenario will be that the scar will be a fine line  that cannot even be felt. Worst-case scenario is  development of abnormal scarring ( hypertrophic or keloid scar formation).  these scars may feel raised/ elevated and may be associated with itching/discomfort.

Most patients (If properly selected and who are doing the operations and the right time of their lives) accept the scars associated with breast augmentation/breast lifting surgery as long as they are happy with the improvement in contour, size, and symmetry. This acceptance of the scars is the essential “trade-off” associated with many of the procedures we do and the field of plastic surgery.

It may be in your best interest to meet with well experienced board-certified plastic surgeons to discuss  These issues as they pertain to you.  Factors such as genetics, ethnicity,  nature of previous scarring you have experienced etc. may come into the discussion.

Best wishes.


Anchor breast lift scar depends on how you heal.

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Some breast scars heal so well that after a year you do not really see them. Unfortunately others can heal slightly darker and raised. Sometimes you have great healing and raised healing on the same person in different spots. That being said there are things we can do to help the healing process such as silicone dressings. I also feel that the Fraxel laser we have in the office really helps decrease scar thickness and color.

Kari L. Colen, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Anchor Incision For Breast Sag

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The anchor incision is frequently utilized for the treatment of breast sag. This incision is especially helpful when patients have severe sag. This surgical approach removes excess skin in both the vertical and transverse dimensions. It also elevates the nipple areola complexes into normal position. In addition, the procedure is versatile. Both breast augmentation and breast reduction can be performed through this approach.


         The procedure results in a circular incision that’s located at the border of the areola with the surrounding tissue. This is connected to a vertical extension that ends with a transverse incision that’s hidden in the inframammary fold area.


         In most cases, scarring from this procedure is acceptable. The lack of significant scarring with this procedure is probably related to redistribution of tension on the surgical closure. In addition, the scars are often well hidden with this approach. The periareolar scar is hidden at the junction of two differently colored tissues. The transverse incision is hidden in the inframammary fold region. The vertical incision isn’t hidden, but this doesn’t represent a problem in most cases.


         The vast majority of anchor incisions heal nicely and patients are generally happy with their results. Occasionally, adverse scarring does occur and scar revisions are necessary, but this is fortunately rare. 

Anchor breast lift scars.

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The anchor technique for breast lift surgery is one of the first techniques that was described. However, since then many superior techniques have been created. These techniques minimize the number of incisions that are necessary and also create a more pleasing breast mound. When discussing this surgery with a plastic surgeon, ask your surgeon about the different techniques and which one would be best for your body shape and your aesthetic goals.

Breast lift scar.

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In my opinion, an anchor scar is not necessary for a breast lift, and leaves unnecessarily prominent scars.

In New York, 30% of our breast lift patients end up with just a circular scar around the nipples. The other 70% have a lollipop scar.

Also the "lollipop" approach gives you better long term shape.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

Everybody heals breast lift scars differently but most all are happy

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 Breast lifts done expertly will restore your nipple areola to a youthful position and tighten the breast envelope to regain lost tone and shape in the breast.  If you get a great shape, the scars will fade into a non-issue over time.


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#AnchorPatternScarsAppearanceVaries widely from patient to patient. However, there are many things you can do to minimize them. (By the way I nearly always favor the Lollipop Breast Lift that has about 40% less scarring for most). Best Scar Management is important to minimize or completely hide from view, the telltale signs of your surgery—namely, scars. Both you and your surgeon want you to have the most minimal scarring possible. There are many possible causes for scars that are enlarged or not healing well. Unsightly scars are most commonly due to genetics, underlying medical conditions, or improper scar/wound care. The last part is very important and patients can make a noticeable difference in their scars’ appearance by following best scar management practices. Here are some simple tips.
Scar Management tips:
  1. Minimize tension on the scar. Steri-Strips and/or surgical tape are often placed in non-hair bearing areas at the time of surgery 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”. In the first few weeks after surgery, I recommend the use of Embrace Scar Therapy which is an adherent silicone sheeting pre-stretched when applied so as to offload tension on the scar.
  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 prevents hyperpigmentation (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. The best product available in my opinion is the Embrace Scar Therapy System by Neodyne BioSciences, Inc. available in many surgeons’ offices. Essentially this is an adherent silicone sheeting pre-stretched when applied so as to offload tension on the scar. For areas that are not applicable for this product (e.g. smaller areas or on the face), I prefer BioCorneum or Kelo-Cote products 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).. 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.

Scarring Following Anchor Incision

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An anchor breast lift normally refers to a breast lift whereby an incision is made around the areola, from the areola down to the fold of the breast, and then an incision in the fold of the breast itself. Of the three components of the anchor breast lift, the incision around the areola and the incision from the areola to the inframammary fold normally heal with a relatively imperceptible appearance. There are certainly some exceptions to this when complications arise. Normally, one would expect these two incisions to have the best resultant scar of the three components. Sometimes, the incision in the fold of the breast can widen. Normally, when this happens it is not thickened or raised but is simply a wider scar than the other two. Fortunately, this is normally concealed in the crease of the breast and often does not present a problem to the patient. Uncommonly, scars can thicken. This can be the result of a particular patient’s own healing characteristics or the result of some degree of wound infection. This would not be regarded as a common or expected outcome in most breast lift procedures.

John J. Edney, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 133 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.