If you have to undergo a mastectomy surgery for whatever reason, then mastectomy scars is one of the tradeoffs that you will have to live with. This article will give you a rundown of everything you need to learn about mastectomy scarring. Included also are pictures to inspire your imagination.
Double Mastectomy Scars
Breast cancer can necessitate mastectomy. This is a surgical operation done to remove one or both breasts either partially or totally. Although it is normally used to treat breast cancer in both men and women, Mastectomy can as well be used to reduce the risk of breast cancer. This is the motive behind Angelina Jolie’s decision to undergo a mastectomy
There are various types of mastectomy and the decision on which is appropriate for your specific case will be based on how the cancer has spread. Regardless of the type of mastectomy used, you will expect to have an incision made on the breast either horizontally or diagonally through which the cancerous breast tissue is removed.
For that reason, mastectomy as with most – if not all surgery procedures – carries the risk of scar tissue formation at the site of incision (cut). After all, scars are typically the result of normal skin healing process following an injury or puncture of the skin.
Double mastectomy is one option that some patients might require if the cancer afflicts both breasts or if the operation is being done to reduce a patient’s genetic propensity to cancer. As the name suggests, it involves removal of both breasts. Double mastectomy scars are not any different than those resulting from an operation done on one side except having scars on both sides of your chest.
The scar is usually horizontal or diagonal depending on the direction of the incision. Surgeons will try as much as possible to have it within the bra line in order to make it easy to hide it with clothing.
Why scars form
When the skin is injured (e.g. from the incisions made during mastectomy), the body responds by starting a buildup of collagen in the wounded section of the skin. Collagen acts like the body’s natural “glue”, strengthening the healing wound.
It is normal for the supply of blood to the wounded area to also increase as the wound tries to heal and this is the reason why most wounds and scars look reddened during the first few days.
Over time, the supply of collagen recedes and the scar starts to heal. As scars heal they become progressively paler, softer and flatter. 6-12 months is the time it takes most scars to heal and most scars will have matured in 12 months.
Mastectomy Scar Tissue Healing Process
Mastectomy scar can be unsightly and traumatic, but most of the times heal and fade gradually as to become less noticeable. It is realistic to expect the scar left behind after mastectomy to heal within 4-6 weeks and mature over a period of one year. Once mature, scars become flat and pale enough as to blend with the surrounding skin which essentially then means that they will not be as visible.
Of course there are exceptions of mastectomy scar tissues that remain bothersome for more than 1 year – sometimes remaining prominent for as long as 2 to 3 years – due to factors such as infection of the initial wound which leads to poor healing of the wound and the resulting scar. Genetic predisposition to scarring can also play a part.
Luckily bothersome scars that remain unsightly after 1 year or more can benefit from one of the various treatment options that we have highlighted in a subsequent section of this article. Remember however that all scars are permanent; while most scars can be improved considerable, no treatment will erase a scar completely.
Pictures of Mastectomy Scars – Photos and Images
And now here comes our favorite segment. Pictures are at our heart and we like to include them whenever possible. What a better way to inspire your imagination and inspiration on such a visual topic as mastectomy scars than with some good pictures of mastectomy scars? So, here we go with a couple of them:
Mastectomy 1, 2
Double Mastectomy Scars Photos
And for those schedule to get a double mastectomy, or just had one, here are a few photos to enlighten you on the kind of scarring you can expect after the procedure:
Mastectomy 3, 4
Mastectomy Scar Tattoo
Tattoos are not only a body mod and beauty practice but also an increasingly popular way to mask scars. You can always have a mastectomy scar tattoo done at a professional piercing studio if the scar resulting from the mastectomy procedure bothers you.
A skilled tattoo artist is able to combine various artistic aspects such as color and layout to disguise the scar tissue and draw it away from eye’s attention.
Tattoo designs that features lots of open spaces such as the Celtic and Tribal varieties are generally not advisable for covering of scars. Organic design varieties are better suited for scars according to the dragonfly Ink Studio. Keep in mind however that there is no tattoo design out there can change the texture of your scar.
A word of caution: never tattoo on a scar until it has healed. To be on the safe side, it would be advisable to wait for 18 months before having the tattoo pierced.
Angelina Jolie Mastectomy Scars
The story goes that Angelina Jolie had at some point decided to get a mastectomy performed on her to reduce her risk of breast cancer. She was bold enough to share her experience with the public and stories of those moments in her life are all over the internet.
We went ahead trying to identify some pictures of Angelina Jolie showing the scars she sustained from the mastectomy operation but we were not successful. Maybe you could share with us one if you come across it.
Mastectomy Scars Treatment
Mastectomy scars can benefit from one or a combination of the various treatment options ranging from over the counter and prescription scar creams e.g. Scarguard, Mederma and Kelo-cote to silicone gel sheets such as ScarAway and Rejuveness, surgical scar revision techniques such as punch excision.
Keloid scars (scars that are raised and extending beyond the original borders of the incision wound) are however not ideal for scar revision surgery. Other options like steroid injection are often preferred.