Breast Reduction that Preserves Nipple Sensation and/or Lactation Ability?

I certainly understand that only very general information can be generated without actual examination.
Within that understood limitation:

I have been told that my breasts are too large to be reduced by any technique that preserves nipple sensation and/or lactation ability. Have there been any large advances in the three years since I was last comprehensively examined.??

I am 30, no new growth for ten years. no physical problems at all. no back problems, shoulder problems, posture is erect and correct. This is purely aesthetic. dress size 7, very petite small frame, 5 feet, 2 inches. a little underweight but still in normal range.

daily exercise since teen years has resulted in muscular abdominal area and no extra fat. superior BMI. No pregnancies.

My underbust/overbust difference is 13 inches. I have always used custom fitted bras. Using the US measurement system, I think I would be a 34M or a 36 M cup, although there are no sizes on my bras because they are made just for me by a professional fitter. All my dresses and blouses are custom made.
Without a bra, my breasts are more ball shaped than teardrop shaped, and hang well past my navel. I always wear a bra, even at night. Exercise, low weight and the specially made bras since childhood have spared me much of the problems associated with this size.

I have become expert in hiding this in public, and in winter coats make the condition invisable. I dress very very conservatively, and really don't have that much concern about my figure.

I have the biggest breasts on the smallest frame of anyone I have ever known or seen. It would be the greatest delight in life to be rid of them. It is living in a cartoon for me. For the past two years, I have had to walk with crutches because of a spinal injury. This has increased my motiviation for a reduction. I am not willing to lose nipple feeling, though.

So the basic question I have is: Has anything changed in the past few years that would merit another examination?

Doctor Answers 3

Breast reduction and ability to breast feed

From what you describe, my suspicious is that previous surgeons have recommended a free-nipple breast reduction. During breast reduction surgery blood supply must be maintained to the nipple. When breasts are very large, it is not possible to remove adequate tissue for a reduction while maintaining blood supply. In this instance, the nipples are removed and placed as on as a graft. This severs sensory nerves as well as milk ducts, eliminating the ability to breastfeed, and causing numbness of the nipples. 

To answer your questions: there have not been any new techniques developed in the past three years which I am aware of that allow for a very large reduction without doing a free nipple graft.

Thank you for your question.


Cleveland Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Breast reduction

If you have extremely large breasts, then perhaps the surgeons were  discussing a free nipple graft procedure. That might be the safest approach for you.  Photos would be helpful. Often in large breasted women I can use an inferior pedicle which often preserves some breast feeding ability and sensation.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Breast reduction surgeries

I have attached a link that might be helpful...

Hi Marthavermont. By your description, most of the established and proven surgical techniques that rely on preserving blood supply and nerve input to the nipples may reduce your breast maximally to a desired volume but will require free nipple grafting. You may consider a partial or staged reduction as a compromise of volume for sensation. Certainly after a few years, a re-reduction may be possible, depending upon how you heal. Good luck!

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.