Will I Be Able to Breast Feed Properly After Reduction?

I am 33, and am considering surgery to correct bad posture and back pain at 5 ft, 130 lb, at 36C. I plan on having children however. Because of my age, am I increasing complication and risk for breastfeeding a baby properly? What other complications should I know about this?

Doctor Answers 8

Breast Reduction and Breast Feeding?

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Thank you for the question. 

Generally, I have patients who are considering having children in the near future to avoid having any  type of breast surgery prior to the pregnancy.


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.

Breast feeding after breast reduction

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It is difficult to predict how succesful you will be to breast feed after breast reduction. Certainly some of the breast tissue will be excised and this will interfere with some mild production. 

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Breast Feeding After Breast Reduction

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It usually is possible to breast feed following breast reduction surgery assuming that a technique is used which maintains some attachment of the nipple.  It may not be a good idea, however, since there is virtually always some areas of the breast which lose their connections to the nipple but will still manufacture breast milk which then has no means of egress.  As far as your age is concerned, there is a greater risk of having complications with pregnancy than breast reduction surgery.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon

Breast feeding after breast reduction

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There is no way to predict whether you will be able to breast feed successfully whether you do or don't have breast reduction surgery. I tell my patients that if breast feeding is important to them to wait until after they have had their children for the surgery. Also pregnancy and nursing can affect the size and shape of the breasts and you may be able to correct that with one surgery if you wait. Good luck to you.

Margaret Skiles, MD (retired)
Sacramento Plastic Surgeon

Breast Reduction San Diego, CA

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Successful lactation depends on many factors.  Most reduction mammaplasty techniques do NOT interrupt the continuity between milk producing and transporting ducts and the nipple.  Your hormone levels (prolactin) and glandular sensitivity to prolactin are important for breast feeding, and are unaffected by breast reduction.  While there is no logical reason that breast reduction surgery would prevent you from supporting your newborn with your own breast milk, if this is very important to you, in agreement with other responding surgeons, my recommendation is to defer the procedure until AFTER childbearing.

Steve Laverson, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

Breast reduction and breast feeding

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The ability to breast feed  after reduction is not predictable. It has not been studied to my knowledge. Also 30% of woman don't do it for either anatomic reasons, personal preference or an inability of the baby to adequately feed.

The surgical technique used and the amount of breast tissue removed will also impact breast feeding.

If this is important to you, I would strongly consider waiting until after childbirth to proceed with breast reduction.

I hope this is helpful. 

Robert W. Kessler, MD, FACS
Corona Del Mar Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 130 reviews

"Scarless" reduction

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Look into this option. I stopped doing traditional breast reduction years ago because of just the questions you are asking. this is liposuction only. there are reasons why this might not be ideal for you but it should be considered.

Sherwood Baxt, MD
Paramus Plastic Surgeon

No guarantees on breast feeding aftre reduction

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Since you don't know your current ability to breast feed, nobody can give you any guarantee that you will be able to after a reduction.  If the ability to breast feed is absolutely critical to you, wait until after kids for the reduction.  Anatomically, this would be better too.

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.