Not many of us can imagine what it is like to wear the equivalent of a fully-loaded backpack on your chest day in and day out. For a woman with oversized and sagging breasts, the most gratifying moment is her first purchase of a normal-sized bra, a regular size dress or even possibly going strapless or braless in an evening gown.
Dr. Ptak finds that the most satisfied patient in his practice are the women who have had breasts reduction surgery and their overwhelming response is ‘why didn’t I do this years ago?’
What is Breast Reduction?
Breast reduction surgery, also known as a reduction mammoplasty procedure, is performed by removing excess glandular tissue, breast fat, and any excess skin from the breast area to provide the patient with a more proportional bust. This procedure relieves the sort of discomfort that is associated with overly large breasts, such as severe neck and back pain. Large breasts commonly cause pain due to the excess weight that the body cannot support fully. Patients looking to reduce the size of their breasts and ease pain caused by their breasts’ weight may be good candidates for breast reduction surgery. The procedure is normally done on an outpatient basis, meaning the patient is free to go home the same day, unless instructed otherwise by the doctor.
A breast reduction can improve a patient's overall quality of life, making it easier to do daily activities without any concerns caused by the extra weight.
Many patients start to enjoy the things they love again, such as physical activities. Another positive benefit that comes with this surgery is having the opportunity to feel great again in the clothing that they previously were self-conscious in due to the size of their breasts. Patients interested in learning more about breast reduction surgery can contact Dr. Ptak and his staff to schedule a consultation. During this appointment, Dr. Ptak will develop a treatment plan specific to each individual patient's needs and surgical goals.
Who is a Good Candidate?
Anyone considering this procedure should be in good health and preferably a non-smoker. Patients who experience physical limitations to their daily activities due to too large of breasts, or who have pain in their neck, back, or shoulders because of the weight of their breasts may qualify. These women may also experience skin rashes under their breasts due to large breasts. Some women who have large, heavy breasts might suffer from breathing difficulties which can be helped with a breast reduction. Bra-strap indentations and chafing are also common issues when dealing with this issue. Women can also suffer emotionally from a poor body image and self esteem due to their decrease in self- confidence. Large breasts can severely impact the amount of physical activity and of course the kind and size of clothing she can wear. Patients who are bothered by the size of their breasts and are experiencing physical/emotional symptoms should contact Dr. Ptak’s office to schedule a consultation to determine if breast reduction is the best course of treatment to their problems.
After breast reduction surgery, patients often feel a significant decrease in muscle pain and tend to see an increase in their physical activity. The appearance change can dramatically and directly impact a patient’s overall self-confidence and help to improve a person's quality of life. Additionally, drooping breasts and downward pointed areolas may be a concern because of the weight of the breasts. This can be addressed with an areolar lift, which is part of a breast reduction.
Patients are encouraged to look through the Before & After gallery to see examples of Dr. Ptak's work to see the positive results that can be achieved. Patient age, dramatic weight change, and hormone levels impact breast reduction outcomes. But in order to maintain results, patients must remember to continue a healthy diet and an active lifestyle.
The consultation allows for Dr. Ptak to meet the patient face-to-face, talk about their concerns, learn more about the patient’s appearance goals, and go over the pros and cons associated with the procedure. Dr. Ptak evaluates the patient's health, discusses any pre-existing conditions and any contraindications. Next, Dr. Ptak performs a thorough breast exam where he will determine skin quality, measure breasts size and shape and notates current nipple and areola placement.
At this time, Dr. Ptak also provides his personal recommendations and discusses expected outcomes and pricing.
Patients will leave the consultation with a detailed understanding of the breast reduction procedure and Dr. Ptak's determination of whether breast reduction treatment is the best option for them. Patients interested in learning more about breast reduction are encouraged to schedule a consultation with Dr. Ptak.
Before the scheduled procedure day, Dr. Ptak will give the patient custom pre-op instructions. Patients are advised not to take any blood thinner medication such as Aspirin or Ibuprofen 1-2 weeks before the procedure. General lab work must be completed prior to surgery to check for any pre-existing conditions, as well as to clear the patient for surgery. In some cases, Dr. Ptak may require a patient to undergo a mammogram and rule out all possible concerns. Dr. Ptak and his staff will go over what to expect the day of surgery and any aftercare instructions that are needed.
The breast reduction procedure takes about two to three hours from start to finish and is normally done under general anesthesia on an outpatient basis or with rarely a short hospital stay if found necessary by Dr. Ptak.
To begin, incisions are made around the nipple-areolar complex, extending vertically below the nipple, as well as in the natural fold that is under the breast. The doctor repositions the nipple areolar complex upwards to the desired location and removes excess breast tissue, fat, and skin. If desired, the doctor reduces the areola, which is often too large in size. The nipple and areola remain attached to their underlying tissue and blood supply while being moved to their higher position. This method allows for the preservation of sensation and the ability to breastfeed. Once the procedure is completed, Dr. Ptak and his surgical staff apply compression bandages and may insert drains for excess blood and surgical fluid; these are removed about a week after the operation during the follow-up appointment. After the procedure is completed, patients will be moved to a comfortable recovery area where they will receive attentive after-care.
After the breast reduction procedure, the breasts are bandaged and placed in a compression garment and surgical bra. The compression garment not only helps with swelling and possible bruising but also provides support for the breast muscles and relieves tension on the closed incisions. Discomfort decreases gradually but any pain experienced during recovery can be controlled with oral pain medication. Scars usually fade within the first 6-12 months. The doctor advises patients to wear the post-op bra every day for up to 6 weeks while the breasts are still healing. In some cases, Dr. Ptak will recommend moving to a sports bra after 2-3 weeks for comfort.
Following the initial surgery, patients will need someone to drive them home and during the first day or two, the patient will require help with general aftercare and everyday tasks.
The doctor recommends patients walk around after the surgery to avoid the formation of any blood clots in the lower extremities and keep blood flow normal. Patients regain full arm and body motion in 2-3 weeks, but they should be cautious and not overexert themselves. Patients need to limit their physical activity for about 6 weeks following the surgery to avoid trauma to the breasts. In the recovery room, the doctor and surgical staff will provide detailed aftercare instructions. They will also schedule follow-up appointments to make sure incisions are healing properly. Dr. Ptak and his staff are happy to answer any questions regarding post-surgery care. Dr. Ptak and his staff pride themselves on patient care, not just before the procedure, but by continuing to be available for their patients after surgery and involved throughout the recovery period.
An additional procedure that would enhance the result of the breast reduction is liposuction of the axillary area, or the armpit and underarm area, to reduce excess fat deposits. Liposuction is recommended as a reduction technique in cases where breasts reduction is due to excess fatty tissue and where there is no excess skin or necessity to reposition the areola.
Another procedure that is often combined with breast reduction is a breast lift. A breast lift surgically raises the breasts to a higher, more youthful elevation. The nipple is also raised to a proportionate, natural-looking placement. Breast reduction and breast lift surgery are often combined because the lift can be performed with the same incisions as the reduction.
Some breast reduction surgeries are covered by insurance; patients are kindly asked to speak with their insurance provider prior to scheduling a consultation. Dr. Ptak can discuss the cost of breast reduction during the consultation after he creates the patient's personalized treatment plan. The cost of a breast reduction may include factors such as anesthesia, techniques used, and additional procedures undergone. Patients interested in undergoing a breast reduction procedure can schedule a consultation with Dr. Ptak at his Scottsdale, Arizona location to discuss cost and other details.