Is Breastfeeding Possible After Breast Reduction?

I am 20 years old and I have 38DD breasts. I would love to get a breast reduction because as long as I can remember I have had back, neck and knee problems. I have horrible posture and running and exercising is difficult because my breasts get in the way. If I have the breast reduction done, will I still be able tp breast feed in the future?

Doctor Answers 25

Breast reduction : breast feeding

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
#breastreduction : #breastfeeding
The #nipples and some areas of the skin may be numb or sensitive after surgery. #Sensation may return within a few weeks or months, but may be diminished or overly sensitive.
Breast reduction may prevent your ability to #breast eed, however the newer short scar techniques that we use lessens that risk.

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

Can You breast feed after breast reduction?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
The answer depends on the technique, amount of breast tissue that will be removed and if you are able to breast feed (not all women are able to).

Surgeon Needs to Know You Intend to Breastfeed in the Future

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Thank you for your question. This is a common concern. The physical symptoms you describe should be addressed because they will only worsen with time. Breast reduction surgery can affect your ability to breastfeed in the future, but if you discuss that concern with your plastic surgeon, there are certain techniques that can lower the risk of disrupting the breasts' milk ducts. Good luck. 

James N. Romanelli, MD, FACS
Long Island Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Loss of ability to breast feed is a risk

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Tell your surgeon before surgery about your intention of breastfeeding. They can customize your surgery to reduce the adverse effects.

Breast feeding possible after breast reduction

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Most women can breast feed after a breast reduction procedure.  If you have not previously breast fed, then it is possible you might not be able to breast feed even if you don't have the procedure, so there is no guarantee that you can 100% breast feed after the procedure.

One type of breast reduction that is performed in extremely large breasts, a free nipple/areolar graft technique, where it is impossible to breast feed after the surgery.  This is because the nipple is removed and replaced as a skin graft, so all nerve, blood vessel and milk duct connections have been severed.

David Finkle, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 82 reviews

Breast feeding and reduction

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Thre is a 15% loss of breast feeding after reduction. Reductions can be done as early as 15 with parental consent, a proper medical clearance and breast growth that has stopped. Insurance coverage is a hit or miss depending on the carrier.  Usually having symptoms related to breast size is necessary for insurance coverage. Getting it covered though is very difficult. Insurance companies wont tell anyone how much tissue needs to be removed to qualify for coverage. Then if the surgeon is 1gram off they deny coverage after the fact. Insurance companies make money by denying coverage. For that reason most plastic surgeon will likely ask for payment up front.  Breast reductions are the most gratifying operations because years of neck, back and shoulder pain are gone within days.  The final size result depends on your starting size. If you start larger then you will likely end larger. It is not possible to choose a size with any real accuracy. The main reason is that the procedure removes breast tissue but leaves enough tissue to preserve the blood supply to the nipple and areola. Thus more tissue needs to be left behind to ensure nipple viability. The nipple and areola is constantly being accessed during the operation. See a board certified plastic surgeon for specifics on your treatment.


Breastfeeding After Breast Reduction

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

The answer is yes. The ability to breastfeed post breast reduction is dependent on the type of technique used during surgery. The reason you sometimes hear that breastfeeding isn't possible after a reduction is because a breast reduction surgery can impede full milk production if milk ducts are severed or nerves are damaged.

There are two main types of breast reductions. With the pedicle technique, the nipple and areola remain attached while the excess breast tissues is removed, maintaining breast function and nipple sensation. The free nipple technique requires both the nipple and areola to be removed, thus severing glands and in turn, losing complete function, sensitivity and obviously lactation.

If breastfeeding is important to you, it is important to select a board certified plastic surgeon that has experience in the surgical techniques needed to preserve the ability to nurse.

Brad Herman, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon

Breast Reduction and Breast Feeding?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Thank you for the question.

Based on your description, you may be an excellent candidate for breast reduction surgery;  it is one of the most patient pleasing operations we perform.

The majority of patients who undergo breast reduction surgery ( unless they have had free nipple grafting)  will be able to breast-feed.

Best wishes.

Breast Feeding After Breast reduction

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Breast feeding after breast reduction is possible, but not assured.  

Some women are unable to breast feed even without having had any breast surgery,  so the reason not to be able to breast feed may have nothing to do with the breast reduction itself.

There are a variety of breast reduction surgery techniques that preserve the connection between the nipple and the ducts to the glandular tissues of the breast that produce the milk.  While not a certainty, these breast reduction techniques  may allow you to breast feed.  

Fredrick A. Valauri, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon

Breast feeding after breast reduction

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

It is possible to breast feed after breast reduction.  It is dependent on many variables.  During the procedure, tissue, (with ducts) are removed.  This can decrease the ability to nurse.  Also scarring around the nipple areola complex can also be a variable.  Remember some people without any surgery will not be able to breast feed.  Every individual is different, so it is difficult to predict if you personally will be able to do this.  Best to speak with your board certified plastic surgeon.  Tell him your concerns and together you will make an appropriate decision. 

Jeffrey J. Roth, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

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.