Can a reduction ruin breastfeeding potential future children?

I'm looking into getting a reduction. I am currently nursing one child and have been very successful with breastfeeding. After this pregnancy I am now a size m. I'm terrified of doing the surgery but I really want it done. My question is will it affect breastfeeding any other potential children I have? What size would be good? Recovery time? What should I expect with surgery and post op? Is it worth it? I suffer from horrible back pain and I'm ready to change that but I'm not ready to stop nursing yet.

Doctor Answers 6

Breast reductions are worth it

I have added a link that might be helpful..

Hi mospratt 160. I'm sorry you are having severe symptoms from your heavy breasts-sometimes relief of the symptoms  is the answer to the question "is it worth it".  Once you have a consultation with a board certified Plastic surgeon, he/she will tell you realistically what size you can reduce to (based upon your frame). Based upon what sounds like a very large size, likely your nipples will require grafting and you will not be able to nurse afterwards. Recovery time varies, since it is outpatient you will be walking immediately.  Most are off narcotics in a few days. Your surgeon will tell you more based upon the technique they use.  My patients are very pleased that they proceeded, so I encourage you to at least start the process of finding a provider you are comfortable with.

Can a reduction ruin breastfeeding potential future children?

More detailed information such as age, height, weight, as well as photos would have helped in rendering an intelligent opinion.  Size M really does not mean anything.  However, the potential to be able to breast feed in the future depends on whether you maintain nipple sensation, how much of a reduction you will get, and what technique is used.  For example in the most commonly used inferior pedicle technique there is only a 5% chance of sensory loss to the nipple and a major portion of the breast glands along with the ducts that connect them to the nipple/areola complex remain intact.  As a result most patients are able to breast feed after a reduction using this technique.  You need to discuss this with your experienced plastic surgeon and get a better understanding of the issues involved.

Ruben B. Abrams, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Breast Reduction

Thank you for your question.
Simply stated, it is never known if you will be able to breast feed after reduction surgery. While most women will produce milk, often it will need to be formula supplemented. I would recommend that you have stopped breast feeding for at least 6 months before considering the surgery. Additionally, if you are considering having another child in the next 2-3 years and prefer to breast feed it may be best to wait until you are done having children.

Best Regards,
Dr. Stutman

Ross Stutman, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Breast Reduction and Nursing

It sounds like you would benefit greatly from a breast reduction.  I wait a minimum of 6 months after cessation of breast feeding to allow the breast to return to a stable size prior to reduction.  Its generally accepted that supplemental  formula feeding may be necessary with future children, but your breast will  continue to produce milk.  Your insurance may cover some or all of the costs.

All the Best,

Dr. Brian Reagan

Can a reduction ruin breastfeeding potential future children?

Most of my patients who had proven their ability to breast feed prior to the surgery were still able to breast feed later, but the volume was not enough in most cases so they had to supplement with formula. But there are never any guarantees. 

Ronald V. DeMars, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Can a reduction ruin breastfeeding potential future children?

Thank you for your question. There are several techniques available to perform a breast reduction and although, unless complications,  they would not "ruin" your ability to breastfeed future children,  they are likely to affect your ability to do so. As long as the nipple and areola complex are moved and repositioned with their blood supply based on a glandular flap, you have very good chances to be able to breastfeed. In my practice in Manchester and London, this is very important part of the consultation to be covered depending on the age and family planning of the patient.

The best advice I have to give you is to go and see an experienced plastic surgeon and explain your concerns. I am sure he/she will be able to offer you a realistic picture and assist you in your choice.

All the best.

Andrea Marando

Andrea Marando, MD
Manchester Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 111 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.