What Breast Reduction Technique Has High Rate of Success for Breastfeeding?

Doctor Answers 9

Breast feeding after breast reduction

To my knowledge, no study of the correlation between incision type and ability to breast feed has been performed. My patients are so relieved to have the burden of heavy breasts lifted from their chests that they would not want to breast feed and risk the need for re-operation. I agree with Dr. Sowder that, unlike other operations which are elective and can be deferred until after childbearing, breast reduction to alleviate musculoskeletal complaints is so beneficial in alleviating patient pain that it is appropriate to operate and not to delay surgery until a patient has had children.

New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

112-03 Queens Blvd
Forest Hills, NY 11375

Breast feeding after reduction

This study has never been done.  A woman should not have a breast reduction if she is hoping to be able to breast feed a baby.  It is true that some women have some lactation after reduction but it is unusual for there to be enough milk to fully support an infant's nutritional needs. 

That being said, breast feeding may be overrated and I would not recommend that a young woman who would otherwise benefit from a reduction suffer with her humongous breasts for years because of the breast feeding issue.  Check out my web reference and please don't report me to the La Leche League. 


Lisa Lynn Sowder, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

1101 Madison Street
Seattle, WA 98104-3508

Breast feeding after Breast Reduction?

Great question but unfortunately we don't have an answer. There are many different techniques used to perform a breast reduction and I think each Plastic Surgeon does it slightly differently. There have not been any studies that I am aware of that look at the rate of the ability to breast feed after Breast reduction surgery. The study would be difficult to perform because not all women are able to breast feed anyway. We would first have to see if a woman can breast feed then perform a breast reduction, the see if she can breast feed again. Interesting question. I tell my patients that Breast Reduction surgery may or may not affect the ability to breast feed. They should certainly try if they want to.

Sheila Bond, MD
Montclair Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

39 South Fullerton Ave
Montclair, NJ 07042

Breastfeeding after reduction mammaplasty

All techniques that maintain continuity of breast glandular tissue and the nipple should preserve the capacity for lactation.  The only technique that interrupts this continuity is free nipple grafting, no longer a commonly applied method for reduction mammaplasty.  There is no guarantee of successful breast feeding after surgery, regardless of the technique, and many women who have never had surgery are unable to breast feed.

Steve Laverson, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

477 North El Camino Real
Encinitas, CA 92024

Breast reduction and successful breast feeding

There is no form of breast reduction with a high rate of successful breast feeding. With both popular techniques, vertical or 'T' pattern, the breast will become tender and engorge with pregnancy, and will lactate. Successful breast feeding takes more that some breast milk production. If breast feeding is important to you, hold off on reduction. Can you nurse after reduction, yes, but expect to supplement.

Best of luck, peterejohnsonmd

Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

8901 West Golf Road
Des Plaines, IL 60016

Breast reduction

No particular way of performing a breast reduction can ensure a particular amount of breast feeding or a percentage.  There will be a reduction, or even no nursing at all.  In my opinion, being able to nurse should not be used as a criteria to have bresast reduction.  415.923.3800

Shahin Javaheri, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

2100 Webster Street,
San Francisco, CA 94115

Breast Reduction and Breastfeeding

Anytime you are removing breast tissue, there is going to be a decrease in the ability to breastfeed.  Ideally, you try and leave as much breast tissue underneath the nipple areola complex to support both the sensation and blood supply to the nipple, as well as potential breastfeeding.  There are many different techniques, but none have been proven to be better for breastfeeding potential over the others.  If breastfeeding is paramount to a patient, then they should wait until they are done having children before undergoing a breast reduction.

Christopher V. Pelletiere, MD
Barrington Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

1602 Colonial Parkway
Inverness, IL 60067

Breast reduction and breast feeding

Generally speaking breast reduction is ideally reserved for after you have completed your family.  However, there are certainly many women that can and do benefit from breast reduction surgery before they are finished having children.  In these cases it is important to keep in mind that approximately 25% of women ( that have never had any type of breast surgery) cannot successfully breast feed for one reason or another.  Therefore 75% can.  There are no significant differences in breast reduction technique with regards to preserving the ability to breast feed.  After breast reduction surgery, the probability of being able to breast feed drops from 75% to 50%.

Sean A. Simon, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

3850 Bird Road
Miami, FL 33146

Breast Reduction and Breast Feeding

Thank you for the question.

Most breast reduction procedures involved leaving a certain amount of tissue intact to supply blood flow to the nipple/areola;  this tissue is called the pedicle. These “pedicles” can bring blood flow from above (superior)  or from below (inferior). It is the presence of this breast tissue that makes breast-feeding an option for many patients who have undergone breast reduction surgery.

I am not aware of any studies that show one technique demonstrating a higher rate of success of breast-feeding. It may be difficult to quantify since some ladies are not able to proceed, without having had breast surgery at all.

I hope this helps.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,051 reviews

8851 Center Drive
San Diego, CA 91942

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.