Breast Reduction Scars - How to Avoid Scarring?

I am considering a breast reduction.  I have breasts that are FF! I am only 23, 5 ft 2, and I weigh about 135 pounds. I have tried to loose weight, but my breast stay large. I have always been self conscious about the way my body looks and would love to have a reduction, but I don't want the ugly scars. Is there any way to have a reduction without large scars? Another concern is my breasts are slightly starting to sag. If I were to leave them this size could they be lifted without scarring?

Doctor Answers 86

Can I avoid breast reduction scars?

If you have excess skin and desire a decrease in volume, there is no way to get around having scars.  Science has yet to find a way to truly do "scarless" surgery.   That being said, most patients are very happy to trade off having scars for an improved breast shape, less aches and pains associated with large droopy breasts, and looking better in clothing, swimming suits, bras, etc.  (and maybe even feeling comfortable going bra-less for the first time!)

It is best to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon who performs breast surgery.  You can look photos of typical scars in a wide variety of patients and better understand what to expect and what the trade-offs and risks are.

Best wishes,

Dr. Michelle Spring

Missoula Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Breast reduction without large scars


Your research will probably lead you discussion of "scar-less" or "minimal scar" surgery. For years US and international surgeons have trying to develop ways to give patients superior results with little scaring. Alternatives such as liposuction of fat, leaving glandular tissue and skin have been tried.

National surveys and informal polls at national meetings confirm that the majority of surgeons feel that short scar techniques (lollipop or vertical plus areolar edge) are suitable for smaller amounts of reduction and lift (mastopexy, without reduction of size), and that larger scar techniques (inverted-T or Wise pattern) are best when reducing many cup sizes of lifting many inches. My practice generally conforms to this pattern.

I do believe that heavier breasts can sag more over time, although that is not always the case. I doubt that you will have long-lasting success leaving them large and lifting them. If you had a lift (without reducing the size) gravity will continue to work on them.

Scars certainly look prominent in photographs, particularly the more recent ones. We show patients many Before & After photos during their consultation and they decide if they will be more comfortable with scars and improved breast & body contour, or if scars are unacceptable. Meet with several experienced plastic surgeons, and look at their photos before you make your decision.

Sutton Graham II, MD
Greenville Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Breast scar management

Thank you for your question. Breast incisions can be managed using a multimodal approach:
1) Scar massage - starting as soon as the surgical dressings come off and the incisions are sealed
2) Silicone sheets or scar gels for about six months to year
3) Embrace - a tension reducing dressing for the first 2 months
4) Fractionated lasers to help blend the scar into the background - done as a series, starting about 4 weeks after surgery and repeated every four weeks for six months.
5) Sunscreen to prevent the scars from darkening

Young R. Cho, MD, PhD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Breast reduction without scars

As a double F who is 23 yrs. old with short stature, a reduction/lift would seem to be in order to restore the balence, equiliibrium and harmony of your upper torso to prevent the negative sequellae which are sure to come.

A reduction of this magnitude cannot be done without scars. SCAR IS THE BODY'S GLUE, AND THERE CAN BE NO HEALING WITHOUT IT. Once they have done their job, scars can be managed with: patience, pressure and medications.

This is the trade off that you will have to make, and in my experience over 35yrs., patients have considered it well worth it.

Barry H. Dolich, MD (Retired)
Bronx Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Breast reductions have options

The two main components of breast reduction is size and shape. If you are only concerned about size/weight, then you can remove fat or even the gland through small incision. But you could shape the breast very well if you have excess skin. The more shaping you desire or need, the more scars you will need. There are a few options using scars that are less than the traditional inverted-T or anchor scars. There may be some compromise in ability to shape. You need to sit down with an experienced plastic surgeon and carefully go over the options. I have rarely had to use the traditional incisions and usually can use these shorted scar technique and occasionally just liposuction. Cosmetic sugery often requires trade-offs that differ between individual patients.

Robin T.W. Yuan, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Breast Reduction / Breast Lift

Dear jlikes03,

The procedure for Reduction/Lifting of the breasts will vary with what you would like to achieve. Some visible scars will result but these can be minimzed with proper surgical approach and pos operative care.

Adjunctive treatments with IPL can speed up the reduction of red color of the scar.

We use long acting freezing in the tissue which minimizes/eliminates post operative discomfort.

With Kind Regards, TMB.

Trevor M. Born, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 115 reviews

Breast reduction scars

All surgical procedures will leave a permanent scar. With breast reduction,  the scars are usually wider than we like, but over several years, particularly in caucasians, the scars will fade and be almost invisible.

Francis X. Fleming, MD
Kennewick Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Avoiding Breast Reduction Scarring

To have a reduction of the weight and size of the breast breast reduction surgery is your best option.  It is the weight of them causing them to sag.  Every surgical procedure will have some type of scar.  The goal is to have acceptable scars.  With breast reduction, the scars depend upon the technique used and the skill of the surgeon.  The most common technique results an anchor type scar with a round nipple scar, a vertical scar from the nipple to the fold of the breast, and a scar along the fold of the breast.  Careful sewing techniques will help decrease the notice ability of the scar.  Taping will help decrease tension of the scars and thus decrease some widening of the scar.  The use of silicone to cover the scars has also been shown to be beneficial.

Grant A. Fairbanks, MD
Salt Lake City Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Avoiding Scars with Breast Reduction

You have my sympathies in trying to cope with such large breasts. You must be quite uncomfortable, both physically and emotionally.

The good news is that you do have options to alleviate the problems your experiencing.  Breast reduction can be quite powerful in relieving symptoms and improving self-image.

Other than weight loss, there are some very new techniques of fat reduction that use freezing or ultrasound. Their efficacy has not yet been reported in our leading and respected journals. I am not aware of their application to breast reduction; it is possible that these non-surgical techniques may apply to breast reduction, in the future; I can't recommend them, at this time.

Liposuction would require 2 or more ~1/4-inch incisions in the breast creases and/or armpits

Liposuction and non-surgical techniques do not address shaping or lift. They will deflate the breast to reduce size.

As large as you are, the deflation may leave enough sagging that you might really want the lift, which leaves you with the scar you are trying to avoid.

Paul C. Zwiebel, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

You will have some scars.

Hi! I bet you would be happier with a breast reduction. We now can do it with less scarring. You would need a "lollypop" scar. The scars do fade a lot but they don't disappear.

I can tell you that women worry a lot about the scars before surgery, but after surgery, I hardly ever hear about them. They are there alright, but the patient is happy anyway because she feels she made a good trade-off.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 9 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.