Will I Be Able to Breastfeed After a Breast Lift/Reduction?

My doctor has recommended a breast lift/reduction. I have bad back pain and constant headaches from my neck muscles being strained. I am 6'0 270 and a 38DDD. I am considering this but am concerned about having more kids. Will I ruin all the work I've had done If I get pregnant? Will I be able to still breast feed? Will I loose nipple sensations?

Doctor Answers 14

Will I be able to breastfeed after a breast lift/reduction?

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Hello! Thank you for your question! Breast procedures such as the breast lift and breast reduction certainly result in a more shapely, perky, and fuller appearance of your breasts along with raising of the nipple-areolar complex to an appropriate position. Since there is an incision made around the areola along with some rearrangement of tissue of the breast, there is a risk, albeit very small, of change in sensation to the area. However, in terms of breastfeeding, studies have shown that there is no increased risk of changing your ability to do so after breast procedures. Not every woman can breastfeed...thus if you can now, your ability to do so will not change after such procedures. Best wishes!

Breast Feeding After Breast Reduction

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A very good question. When I counsel a young woman regarding breast reduction I tell her if breast feeding is of paramount importance she should postpone the surgery until her family is complete. But most of my patients that have seen me again after a reduction have been able to breast feed but usually had to supplement  with formula because their milk volume was insufficient for the baby. When I ask if they regret having that problem, everyone says "no". They relief from a breast reduction is very large in their minds.

A small percentage of patients have diminished or lost nipple sensitivity but most patients retain whatever degree of sensitivity they had preop.

Breast feeding is maintained after the Ultimate Breast Lift/Reduction

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You are a perfect candidate for a new technique called the Ultimate Lift/Reduction. This procedure preserves the ability to breast feed while lifting and if necessary reducing breast size. The advantage of this technique is that no vertical scar is required and the breast weight is transferred to your underlying muscles. This releaves neck, back, shoulder and bra pain. It also provides long term elevation creating a perky/youthful breast that patients desire. Nipple sensitivity is not compromised. It's worth looking into.

Best wishes,

Dr. Horndeski

Breast Lift and Future Breastfeeding

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Sagging can occur for a woman who’s had a pregnancy. Maybe her breasts has become either just deflated, or the skin has been stretched from pregnancy, and or breastfeeding. And now is in a lower position than she would like. So by doing the breast lift, we can tighten the breast, tighten the breast skin, and put it into a more youthful position. 

I prefer to use a #shortscar technique, #LollipopScar or #DonutLift” rather than the majority of surgeons in the United States that use an anchor pattern lift which involve more significant scarring. This procedure alone would not prevent any future potential for breastfeeding, so be sure to discuss all of this with your PS when determining your procedure in order to prepare for best results and your future plans.

Will I Be Able to Breastfeed After a Breast Lift/Reduction?

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These are all possible sequelae of the breast reduction/lift surgery. The risk of having these occur are as I tell my personal patients 50/50. So if you desire more children have them than obtain this surgery. Or if you can live with the risks than proceed. Best of luck. 

Breast reduction and issues of pregnancy, nipple sensation and ability to breast feed

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From the numbers that you have provided, I assume that you are quite large and uncomfortable and a breast reduction (which also includes a lift) will  be an excellent choice. However, it would be beneficial that you lose a significant amount of weight if at all possible prior to surgery for a variety of reasons. Also, if you are planning to have children in the near future, you would have to evaluate the consequences that pregnancy will have on your results versus the worsening of symptoms with further enlargement with pregnancy if surgery is not performed.

Depending on the technique chosen, there can be different risks on the impact of breast feeding and nipple sensation.

Breast Reduction

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It sounds like you are suffering because of a skeletal imbalance from large breasts. Sorry that is happening to you. If the surgical technique used to reduce the breast keeps the nipple attached, most patients are able to breast feed and almost all maintain nipple sensation. Many reductions or breast lifts are done before women have their children, so your pain is more important than what pregnancy will stretch out. Breast reduction patients are the happiest group of plastic surgery patients, studies show.  All the best, "Dr. Joe"


No assurance for breast feeding or nipple sensation after breast reduction

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Thanks for your question.  Your concerns are two of the most important considerations when deciding to have a breast reduction.  The answer begins with the general comment that surgeons use different techniques to perform breast reductions and the risks vary with each technique.  If the potential loss of either sensation or lactation is not acceptable to you despite the improvements in your back pain,  then you should not have the procedure because no one can assure you that the risk is zero.  Ask your surgeon to statify these risks in his/her experience.

Breast Feeding after Breast Lift or Breast Reduction

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No plastic surgeon can guarantee that you will be able to breast feed after a breast reduction or lift, since many women are unsuccessful at lactation without any breast surgery.  However many studies show that women with breast reductions or breast lifts (mastopexy) have lactation performance that is as successful as women who had no surgery.  That rate varies from study to study but is generally between 65-70%.  Loss of nipple sensation is approximately 2 % for all methods of breast reduction and lifts.  If you would like to review the studies for yourself a good place to start is at the website below.  Type in breast feeding and breast reduction on the subject line and you will find mutiple supportive studies. 

Breast Reduction Timing?

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Thank you for the question.

Based on your description, your doctor has made a good recommendation;  it sounds like you are a excellent candidate for breast reduction surgery. You may want to achieve a long-term stable weight prior to surgery.

The major issue of concern is timing of the surgery;  if you are thinking about pregnancy in the near future,  wait on having the breast reduction.

The majority of patients who undergo breast reduction surgery however are able to breast-feed and the majority will also retain nipple sensation.

At some point, you should visit with well experienced board-certified plastic surgeons to discuss ALL  the pros/cons of the breast reduction procedure, to determine if it is in your best interest to proceed.  In general, it is one of the most patient pleasing operations we perform.

Best wishes.

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.