Best Way to Get Rid of Mastectomy Scars

Best Way to Get Rid of Mastectomy Scars

Mastectomy scars can, unfortunately, be quite extensive. If breast reconstruction is not performed at the same time as the mastectomy, the resulting scars can be quite long, running from next to the breastbone to the side of the chest or armpit area. Along with restoring the size and shape of the breast, reconstruction also helps limits scarring when performed at the same time as the mastectomy. Some types of reconstruction can also increase the amount of overall scarring: if the patient’s own tissue is used for the reconstruction instead of implants (eg from the woman’s back, abdomen, buttocks or thighs), additional scarring is created at the site of the tissue harvest.

Scars are not only a cosmetic concern. Some scars can cause pain, tightness, or itching. You will want to do everything you can to minimize the scarring caused by your mastectomy to enhance the way you look and feel.

One of the most important things you can do to minimize scarring is to prevent infection in the post-surgery period. Patients are often sent home from surgery with drains that remove excess fluids from the area. These drains are usually removed a few days later. Once this happens, you should keep the incision as clean as you can so that it can continue to heal fully. Follow your doctor’s instructions for bandaging and cleaning the area. Infection can not only put the reconstruction at risk (especially reconstruction with implants), it will also worsen scarring, so decreasing the chances of developing an infection is very important.

Massaging the scar after it has fully healed can help by breaking down scar tissue and improving blood flow. This helps soften the scar and also brings more oxygen and nutrients to the wound which can promote healing and reduce scarring. Be sure to get the “all-clear” from your doc before starting scar massage to ensure your incisions are ready.

It is also important to eat a healthy diet and stay well hydrated while your are healing. This will help in several ways. First, staying well hydrated means more moisture in your skin and at the site of the scars. Skin moisture improves healing. Some of the nutrients you eat can also work to lessen the appearance of scars. Ingredients known to be helpful for healing include vitamins A and C, zinc, and protein. Finally, a healthy diet and proper hydration will promote overall health, helping you feel better, faster after surgery.

Feeling better means you may feel more like exercising once given the all-clear by your surgeon. Aerobic exercise increases blood flow and improves healing. After a mastectomy, you may not feel like doing much at first. Even if you can only walk for a few minutes, that’s a start! Slowly build back up to a level of exercise that you and your doctor are comfortable with.

Also try a silicone-containing gel. Topical silicone has been shown to reduce the appearance of scars, making them lighter, flatter, and softer. Follow the instructions that come with the product you choose. Stick with the recommended frequency and duration of treatment for the best results.

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The information on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. Please speak to your doctor to treat any medical condition. Information on this site is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

Comments

  1. Patricia KEES says:

    I had a double masectomy in 2013. Had to have several follow up surgeries. Had implants, but had to have them taken out. I’ve always had trouble with the scar tissue, but I don’t think it’s getting any better after four years. My chest bothers me all the Time. I think the scars have grown into my chest mussels or something. It’s miserable. I surgery an option me?

    • Hi Patricia, Based only on what you’ve mentioned, there is no reason you cannot have more reconstructive surgery. The only way to know for sure if you are a candidate is to visit with a board certified plastic surgeon, preferably one specializing in breast reconstruction so you can discuss and consider all your options.

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