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Can Breast Revision Surgery Minimize Stretch Marks?

February 20, 2006,

By Dr. Grant Stevens from About Plastic Surgery

There’s no one “cure” for stretch marks on your breasts; but breast revision surgery along with other, less invasive therapies may help.

Breast revision surgery is actually one of a number of approaches that can be used to reduce the appearance of stretch marks on breast skin. Stretch marks can occur anywhere on your body due to rapid expansion of the skin that outpaces collagen formation. Hormones play a key role in the formation of stretch marks and there is a strong genetic component involved. If the other women in your family have stretch marks on their breasts, it is likely that you will develop some as well.

These blemishes can appear at any age. Some teens get stretch marks on their breasts during puberty. Pregnancy is another common life event that leads to the development of stretch marks. These lines are not harmful, but they can be unsightly. If you are concerned about the appearance of stretch marks on your breasts, there are several treatments you may wish to explore. Seek the opinion of a specialist at a center for plastic surgery to help you decide which option is right for you.

Topical Remedies

The easiest time to treat breast stretch marks is while the marks are still forming. At this stage, the lines will be red, pink, purple, or brown. During this initial phase, Retin A cream can be applied topically to reduce inflammation in the skin and fade the color of the stretch marks so they more closely match your skin tone. This treatment won’t stop new marks from forming on your breasts and has little or no effect on mature stretch marks that are already white and shiny. It may keep new stretch marks from becoming as severe as they might be otherwise. This is not a medication you should use when you are pregnant or nursing.

Laser Resurfacing

For stretch marks that are already established, laser resurfacing may give your skin a chance to reset and grow a new dermal layer with less distinct stretch marks. As with breast revision surgery, each surgeon has his or her own preferred technique for treatment based on successes achieved with past patients. A Fraxel 1550 nm laser is one device that may be recommended for minimizing breast stretch marks. It offers deeper remodeling than many non-ablative lasers while leaving plenty of healthy skin intact to promote rapid healing. Vascular lasers that target inflamed blood vessels may be used on new stretch marks that are still red or pink.

Multiple treatments may be needed for maximum improvement. Not all skin types are suitable for laser treatment. When you visit a center for plastic surgery to discuss your laser therapy options, ask to see before and after photos for patients who match your skin type and the severity of your stretch marks. These are both factors that affect the outcome of treatment.

Breast Revision Surgery

Breast marks that are located on the underside of the breast may be completely removed when sagging skin is excised in a breast reduction or breast lift. However, those aren’t the marks you usually see when you look in the mirror or down at your chest. Most women are more concerned about the marks that are visible on the upper part of their breasts. Any type of breast revision surgery that fills up the breast and tightens the skin may have the side effect of making these stretch marks less noticeable. This is especially true if you have stretch marks that form slight creases or wrinkles in your skin. Breast reduction, augmentation with implants, and breast lifts are all procedures that help firm up the skin over the underlying breast tissue.

Some patients are concerned that getting implants will cause the skin over their breasts to expand too suddenly and make new stretch marks form. This is very unlikely with the size of breast implants most women choose. Your plastic surgeon can discuss this concern with you and provide helpful post-op instructions for taking good care of your skin.

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