Mommy Makeover: All You Need to Know About Scars

I know I need a Mommy Makeover but I am really concerned about the appearance of the scars.  What do I need to know?????

  • Where the surgical scars are located and how they differ with the different types of Mommy Makeover surgeries
  • Ways that we manage scars after surgery.  

So what do you do if you know that you are a great candidate for a Mommy Makeover but the idea of having scars that are visible (but well hidden) makes you concerned?  This concern is real and understandable.  First and foremost, with a Mommy Makeover, the scars will fade and in most cases, the scar will be barely visible by 12 months after surgery.  Therefore, if timed correctly, you would only have one cycle through the warm seasons to keep your breast and belly covered if you are concerned about the appearance of the scars immediately after surgery.  Secondly, the placement of the scars with a Mommy Makeover are discrete and not visible when wearing a bathing suit or underwear.  In actuality, these scars are only clearly visible when naked and in harsh lighting. 

To make you feel more comfortable with your decision,  let’s go through the things you should know about Mommy Makeover surgery scars starting first with their location:

  • Breast: Scar placement depends on the shape and size of your breast following pregnancy. For those of you with larger breast that need a reduction or sagging breast that need a lift, the scars are one of two types:  A lollipop scar, which places the scar around your areola and below your nipple (along the midline of your breast) or an anchor scar which places the scar in similar fashion to the lollipop scar but also includes a scar along the base of your breast. For those of you whose breasts have lost their youthful shape but a reduction or lift is not required, a breast augmentation will most likely be the answer.  Although the placement of the scar in breast augmentation surgery will depend in part on the size, placement, and type of breast implant you chose, in almost all cases the scar is hidden in one of three locations: the armpit, the base of your breast or around your areola.    Include diagram 
  • Belly: Scar placement will depend on the amount of changes in your belly and waist from your pregnancy.  If you were fortunate to make it through pregnancy without much loose skin, liposuction alone will be the answer for unsightly pockets of fat.  This procedure places extremely small incisions in hidden areas that are rarely visible after surgery.  For most other moms, loose skin, fat and splitting of the muscles are all issues.  In these cases, a tummy tuck will be the surgery of choice.  The location of your problem area(s), above or below the belly button, will determine whether you need a mini and full Tummy Tuck.  With either one of these surgeries, the scar will be placed low in the underwear line and in curved fashion.  The length will vary depending on the amount of loose skin. 

Many of you are also concerned with the length of the scars.   Here is a description of the scar lengths depending on the type of surgery:

  • Breast: The length of the scars can vary and will depend on the size and contour of your breast.  The shortest scar we use for a breast reduction or lift surgery is the one placed only around your areola.  This is a great option but it offers the least amount of lifting of your breast when compared to other approaches.  The second shortest scar is the lollipop scar and this offers some of the best potential for lifting while excluding an additional scar along the base of your breast.  In cases where there is a lot of redundancy of breast skin and tissue below your nipple and areola, an anchor scar will be necessary.  Although this is the longest scar we use for breast lift surgery, it offers the best means of transformation.  As for breast augmentation surgery, the length of the scar does depend on the size and type of the implant you choose but it will most likely be 2 inches or less.  This is true for almost any location on or around your breast where the scar is placed.  In cases where larger silicone implants are used (greater than 600cc), the length of this scar may be slightly greater than 2 inches.  When saline implants are used, the scar length can often be reduced to around 1 inch.
  • Belly: For those of you who only have excess fat, the treatment will often be liposuction alone.  In these cases, the scars will be extremely small, barely visible and hidden.  If visible loose skin is present, the scar will be placed within the underwear line, in curving or smile fashion.  The length will depend on the amount of loose skin that is present.  If you only have loose skin below the belly button and you are a candidate for a mini Tummy Tuck, the scar is often as short as 8 to 10 inches in length.  This is just a bit longer than a C-section scar..  From there, the scar length increases, especially for those with a lot of loose skin.  The scar for a full Tummy Tuck will be from hip to hip, which is usually greater than 16 inches. In severe cases of loose skin, as with massive weight loss patients, the scar can be extended from the waist, to your back.  The length of these scars will always vary depending on your anatomy and your clinical exam. 

If a Mommy Makeover is your best option, what can you do after surgery to ensure that the scar heals the best:

  • When the surgery is successful, you should expect that the scars will slowly fade, especially between six to twelve months after surgery.  After one year, the scars will be light, not obvious and difficult to visualize without a bright light.  If scars are slow to fade or are more visible, many treatments and therapies exist to help them along. In our office, we have a comprehensive approach to treating these scars after surgery. This often includes silicone gels and strips, LED light treatment, IPL and laser therapies, deep needling, radio frequency treatments and steroid injections.  By mixing these treatments and therapies, we can ensure that you have the best possible healing of your scars after surgery.  Avoiding things that make scarring worse, like smoking and sun exposure, is also really important to having the best outcome.