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CosmeticSurg Blog

Dr. Rodriguez discusses Plastic Surgery, Medicine, and Stem Cell Research

Breast Lift Scar Options

What type of scar will you get with a breast lift procedure?

This is a very common question, and an important question that all patients should discuss with their Plastic Surgeon prior to having surgery.

Years ago I wrote about the . Today I’d like to concentrate on the breast lift, specifically, and the types of scars associated with breast lifts.

Any procedure that lifts the breast will require the surgeon to make an incision and that incision will leave a scar on your breast. In most cases, the scar will eventually fade and the positive aesthetic outcome of the ‘lifted’ breast will far surpass the remnants of a scar. But the fact is, you will have a scar following a breast lift (whether or not an implant is involved in the procedure). In fact, breast lifting actually occurs in breast reductions, too.

SURGICAL TECHNIQUE DETERMINES SCAR SHAPE

Any procedure that lifts the breast will require the surgeon to make incisions to change the breast shape so that the breast is lifted. There are three different surgical approaches that can theoretically be performed for procedures that lift the breast:

  • Benelli Scar
  • Vertical Scar
  • Inverted T (Wise pattern)

The figure below describes the incision pattern and what the scars look like after completion of surgery. Each surgical technique will leave you with a distinct type of scar.
breast lift scar diagram

In the top row, the white lines are the skin incision pattern, or the cut out pattern of how your surgeon will excise the skin. The pink is the area of the actual skin and tissue that he removes during surgery.

As you can see in the diagram, the Benelli pattern takes out the least amount of skin, and the Inverted T (Wise-pattern) takes out the most skin. The bottom row illustrates what the scars will most likely look like after surgery. To summarize:

  • Benelli scar is around the areola, forming the border of the areola
  • Vertical scar is visible in the middle underside of the breast
  • Inverted T (Wise-pattern) has two scars, a vertical and a horizontal

WHICH SCAR LOOKS THE BEST?

If you are looking for the best looking scar, or the smallest scar, that would be the Benelli. This is eventually a ‘hidden scar’ as it will eventually fade into the nipple line. Most patients are also happy with the Vertical Scar as the scar is on the underside of the breast, and not exposed horizontally on the chest wall. In my opinion, the least attractive scar is the Inverted T technique (Wise Pattern), which is really two scars.

COMPLICATION RATES WITH SCARS

The most commonly used incision pattern in the U.S. is the Inverted T, also known as the Wise pattern or Anchor pattern. For the most part this is simply because the Wise pattern has been in existence for many decades while the other techniques are younger and, therefore, not as widely adopted.

Recently I read an article on Medscape from the journal “Wounds” about wound healing problems in Breast Reduction and Breast lift (Mastopexy). The article, , cited that the use of the Inverted T technique (Wise Pattern) has a 10% wound complication rate. IMO, that is a pretty high complication rate, and it is much higher than the other two techniques, the Vertical Scar and the Benelli technique. In my practice, the wound rate with the other scars is less than 5%.

Inverted T (Wise pattern) scar

Because of the large pattern of skin cutout with the Inverted T scar (Wise-pattern) the scar complication can look really bad. Here is a photo of one of these wounds using this surgical technique. Although it is not a life threatening problem, this wound complication at the incision location could certainly look very scary to the patient. In addition to scars, this procedure also tends to flatten the breast, instead of making them perky. I no longer perform this technique in my practice as I feel that the other surgical techniques are far superior.

breast scar complication

As shown in the figure above (Source: Wounds, HMP Communications, as seen in Medscape), this pattern cuts out the most skin and leaves the most scarring. The wound breakdown is usually where the vertical and horizontal scars underneath the breast come together. The photograph is worth a thousand words.

Vertical Scar (aka Lassus technique)

Less common is the Vertical Scar Technique, which has less scarring than the Wise pattern, but has a vertical scar visible in the middle underside of the breast. The vertical scar has the advantage that it can give the breast a better shape and the scar does eventually fade with time.  I use this technique primarily for breast lifts and breast reductions of any size.  

For breast lift with implants, the implant itself gives such great shape to the breast, that the Benelli is truly the best choice of technique .  The vertical scar can have wound complications, but because the scar area is so much smaller than the Inverted T scar (Wise pattern), the complications are much easier to manage.

Benelli Scar

Very few surgeons use the Benelli scar because it is technically more difficult. I like it because the scar is well camouflaged as it forms the border of the areola. The only downside with this type of scar is that it can not be used in large breast reductions. However, it is ideal for small breast reductions, breast lifts, and breast lift with implants.

Most importantly, in cases of breast lifts with implants, there are hardly any wound complications with this technique. There’s a good reason for this. When you add an implant to a breast lift, you are filling up the skin envelope and, as a result, you do not need to take out much skin at all. You really only need to take out enough skin to move the areola to the new position higher up. The procedure is safer, and has less scars. That’s why the Benelli is my favorite.

KNOWING WHAT TO EXPECT

If you are contemplating a breast lift, with or without an implant, be sure to discuss your goals and objectives, very specifically, including the type of scar you should expect following surgery. Your surgeon should be able to show you exactly where your scar will be. He/she should be willing to discuss your options, describe his surgical techniques, and answer any other questions you have about your breast lift.

Please see our before and after photos for Breast Lift, Breast Lift with Implants, and Breast Reduction.

Posted in Breast

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11 Comments

  • wrote
    October 16, 2016 at 1:47 pm

    Natasha:
    It all depends on wether you are doing just a lift or wether you are doing a lift and an augmentation. It also matters wether you are having fat injections to the breasts.
    In any case, I have forwarded your email to Kelly at kelly@cosmeticsurg.net and she will be more than happy to help you.

  • wrote
    August 9, 2016 at 3:05 am

    How much does it take should the procedure remove sagginess and droopiness from the breasts

  • wrote
    November 17, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    Liturname:
    Great!
    Sammy is a great guy and I know him well. I’m sure he did a great job!

  • wrote
    October 20, 2015 at 5:58 am

    Hi.. I have done my breast lift surgery with highly cohesive silicone gel implant from a clinic in Toronto. Dr. Sammy Sliwin suggested this implant as it will not leak even if the outer shell becomes torn. I recovered within few weeks and he also assured that breast augmentation generally does not interfere with my ability to breastfeed.

  • wrote
    July 28, 2015 at 11:00 am

    Lorraine:
    I have done the Bennelli technique for 10 years and have worked through many of the technical difficulties so that now the procedure is routine for me. The key thing for me has been the use of Quill barbed sutures. That has made all the difference in the world.
    FYI, Augmentation and lift has a rate of anywhere from 24% to 50% of needing touch-ups. Mine hovers at the lower edge, 24%. But whatever the revision rate is, when you use a Benelli, you have A LOT less scaring at the end, and that to me is worth a lot.

  • wrote
    July 21, 2015 at 1:28 am

    Very informative article about breast lift scar. I will be undergoing breast lift surgery soon in a clinic in Toronto, had initial consultation with my surgeon Dr. Ronald Levine last week and he had given an idea about these surgical techniques. And I prefer the Benelli scar but don’t know how successful it would be as it is technically more difficult. Hope everything would go well.

  • wrote
    April 21, 2015 at 11:00 am

    Sophie:
    What is most important is to get opinions from more than one Surgeon before deciding who is better suited.

  • wrote
    April 7, 2015 at 11:14 am

    Thank you for the article it will allow those who are willing to do a breast lift to know all the important details. And most of all to learn that they must not trust any doctor for the surgery.

  • wrote
    March 26, 2015 at 8:02 am

    Very informative article. People should be armed with as much information as possible before undergoing any invasive procedure. Scarring is a huge concern because different people heal differently. Good to know that there are choices one can make so that the scarring isn’t too visible.

  • wrote
    March 1, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    Kriztina:
    I think we will need to get more details and pictures before I can give you a good idea of what we can do.
    Contact Kelly at kelly@cosmeticsurg.net and she will let you know how to set up a virtual consult.
    We would love to help you.

  • wrote
    February 12, 2015 at 2:34 am

    Hi dr I had injection done and they are becoming hard balls now I have lots of discoloration of the skin what can I do can I still get a fat transfer after all this and will those dark color go away all I do is cry