How to Get Rid of Red and Raised Breast Reduction Scars?

I had a breast reduction & lift 15 months ago. I am very pleased with the way my breast look now except for the scars. The scars seemed to be healing very well after three months until I went to a tanning salon ( I was not told not too). Now the scars appear very red and somewhat raised. I have tried the mederma cream and it has not done anthing to the appearance. What treatment or proceudre should I consider?

Doctor Answers 16

Lots of options to improve the appearance of scars

What you are describing does happen from time to time after breast reduction surgery, but there are a few things that can be done to improve their appearance, including scar massage, silicone ointment or sheets, and steriod injections. There is also the surgical option of a scar revision, but I would wait at least 2 years in your case until you have tried these other, non-surgical treatments, prior to have a scar revision. The non-surgical treatments should help the scars flatten and become less red, but if they are wide scars, then usually the only remaining option will be a surgical revision, which can work very nicely to narrow them.

Sounds like you are very happy overall, and that's what counts!

Good luck,

Dr. Salemy


Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 133 reviews

Best Scar Management

Best Scar Management PracticesScar 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.  #bestscartreatment #bestscarcare

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 99 reviews

How to get rid of red and raised breast reduction scars?

It is common for scars to fully mature for up to a year. In the meantime, there are a few things that may help to ameliorate your incision/scar. The most proven (as well as cheapest) modality is simple scar massage. Applying pressure and massaging the well-healed scar has been shown to improve the appearance as it breaks up the scar tissue, hopefully producing the finest scar as possible. Other things that have been shown to add some benefit, albeit controversial, are silicone sheets, hydration, and topical steroids. In addition, avoidance of direct sunlight to the incision will significantly help the appearance as they tend to discolor with UV light during the healing process.

If unsightly scars are still present after approximately a year's time, other things that your surgeon may consider are intralesional steroid injections, laser, or just surgical revision of the scar itself.  Given your main concerns with the scars, at 15 months, either steroid injections or consideration for surgical scar revision may be considered.

Hope that this helps! Best wishes!

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Breast Reduction and Scarring?

Thank you for the question.

Sometimes the use of silicone-based products and/or steroid injection may be helpful.  Sometimes scar revision surgery and careful scar management afterwards may be helpful. Despite anecdotal reports otherwise I have not seen significant improvement with laser treatment of scars.

Best wishes.

Scar creams don't work for breast reduction scars.

Fifteen months is a long time to have actively healing scars, but it is not out of the question.  You probably need more time.  A scar revision starts the process over and you might be where you are now 15 months after the revision.  Scar creams don't work.  Check with your plastic surgeons.  Occasionally steriod injections may help but should be done judiciously.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Scarring after breast reduction

Red and raised scars 15 months after breast reduction are not normal.  The tanning bed certainly didn't help, but it shouldn't have made the scars raised. You may have hypertrophic scarring, which may require more than just some lotions or creams to impove.  See your plastic surgeon again for scar treatment recommendations.

Carmen Kavali, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Scarring after breast reduction

 

Scarring after breast reduction is typically very mild. If you have read and raised breast reduction scars 15 months after surgery, this needs to be evaluated. Your skin may be having a reaction to the suture that was used for the closure. There are several options for your condition. Arrange an evaluation with a board-certified plastic surgeon so that they may assess your scars. They may recommend a small injection of steroid medication to help settle the scars. They may also recommend a scar revision where the thick red scarves are excise and replaced with thinner scars. If you should decide to proceed with a scar revision, be sure to use silicone sheeting over these new scars to make sure that he'll as smoothly and as flat as possible.

Pat Pazmino, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 73 reviews

See your surgeon to determine how to fix scars

Without seeing you it is not possible to know what is going on. You could have hypertrophic scarring but without examining you I can not recommend treatment.

Best Regards.

John P. Di Saia, MD
Orange Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Breast reduction scars

Tanning salons are a "NO NO."  The scars are usually  more sensitive to UV rays and can cause hyperpigmentation as I suppose happened to you.  Keep them protected from the Sun or tanning booths.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Red scars can take more time to mature

Healing is an individual thing. Usually scars mature in less than a year, but they can take many years for the reddness and thickness to go away. You need to see your surgeon and let them decide what is the best thing to do.

William B. Rosenblatt, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 11 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.