Discharge After Breast Lift?

I'm four weeks post-op. My breast has been leaking moderately for appprox 3 weeks. Am I lactating, or is this post-op discharge? Should I be worried?

Doctor Answers 20

Discharge or Leaking Requires Evaluation

Nipple discharge after breast surgery is not unusual.

Breast surgery can temporarily stimulate lactation and is benign.

To be certain that the drainage is innocent and does not require treatment, see your surgeon for an evaluation, as soon as possible.

Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Surgery Can Stimulate Lactation

Although your question isn’t totally clear, I’m assuming that you’re referring to post-operative nipple discharge.It’s important to realize that breast surgery can occasionally stimulate lactation.

This is usually a self-limited process that resolves with the passage of time.Nevertheless, it should be evaluated and monitored by your surgeon.

It’s important to rule out other causes of nipple discharge and to make sure that secondary complications such as infection don’t develop.When these steps are taken, most patients have a relatively uneventful recovery.

Discharge after Breast Surgery

Thank you for your question.

It is difficult to know if you are having "leaking" from the nipple/areola or the incision.  Discharge from the nipple/areola after breast surgery because the milk ducts have been manipulated.  This discharge should stop spontaneously.  If the "leaking" is from the incision lines, you should make sure your plastic surgeon sees you and  examines you to make sure that all is fine.

Best Wishes.

Leaking after Breast Lift needs to be Evaluated by your Surgeon

Anytime that you have leaking from your incision, especially for an extended period of time, then you need to be evaluated by your surgeon.  You need to go soon rather than later if you have any pus or fever or chills.  

David Shafer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 74 reviews

Discharge following breast lift

Nipple discharge following breast lift surgery may occur and usually resolves spontaneously. Any discharge from the incision(s) needs to be evaluated immediately for possible infection, wound healing problems, or underlying fluid collection.

Olivia Hutchinson, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Discharge After Breast Lift

Milk discharge can occur after breast surgery, because the breast ducts, which carry the milk from the glandular tissue to the nipple, are cut and manipulated. This discharge is milky white and has no odor. It comes from the nipple or areola. This drainage will stop on its own.

Other types of discharge may come from incision lines or drain sites. They may be wound fluid, tumescent solution, liquefied fat, old blood, or pus.

Signs of infection include redness, pain, odor, green or yellow color, increasing tenderness, warmth, or fever. If you have any of these symptoms, you should notify your surgeon immediately.

Karen Vaniver, MD
Kennewick Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Call your plastic surgeon for a follow-up.


It is possible to have a small amount of drainage after a breast reduction. The most important factors are where the drainage is coming from and the quality of the drainage. Sometimes patients have a minimal amount of clear or yellowish drainage from a certain point along the incision line. This may be due to the liquefaction of fat underneath the skin. If the drainage proceeds for a long time it may be a symptom of a deeper collection or a deeper problem that your plastic surgeon will definitely want to know about. If the drainage is of a dark or greenish color and if it has a foul odor, this may indicate a deep infection in which your plastic surgeon will want to know about this immediately. The best thing to do is to take care of yourself and see your plastic surgeon as soon as possible and discuss your concerns.

Depends on the type and location of the discharge after Breast Lift

I'm assuming you mean nipple discharge. I have seen patients having milk discharge in the peri-operative time. I would alert your plastic surgeon to it. He will follow it for some time and if needed additional tests might be ordered. If the discharge is from your incisions, you need to show it to your doctor ASAP. Best of luck!

Hisham Seify, MD, PhD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Several underlying factors causing discharge after breast lift

Did you have implants as well?

Is this discharge from the nipple or incision?

Does it a have an odor?

Is it white (pus-like), bloody, clear, or oily?

Is the skin black?

Do you have a fever or are the wound edges red?

All of these may be indicative of the underlying problem and may represent different causes.

Generally lactation occurs from the nipple with a clearing whitish drainage with minimal odor and frequently ocurs with placement of implants.

Please consult with your physician to evaluate other possible causes.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 74 reviews

Leaking is not a normal outcome.


Please have your doctor evaluate you to be sure you do not have an infection. Leaking this far out is a sign that trouble may be coming.

John P. Di Saia, MD
Orange Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 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.