What Technique is Needed for Breast Reduction if a Mother Intends to Breast Feed Later?

Doctor Answers 8

Breast Reduction technique and post operative breast feeding

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Breast reduction techniques which keep the nipples attached to the breast gland and ducts will preserve the ability to breast feed in most cases.  However, if the breast are very pendulous or massive then a surgeon may have to perform a breast reduction in which the nipples are separated from the breast gland and then reattached as skin grafts.  In this case a patient would not be able to breast feed after the surgery.  Make certain your surgeon understands that you may want to breast feed after the surgery and check with him/her as to the type of surgery they are planning on.  Best Wishes.  

San Jose Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 63 reviews

Breast reduction and lactation may be at cross purposes

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Any breast reduction technique which preserves the integrity of the milk ducts with the nipple-areolar complex should theoretically enable a woman to breast feed at a later date.  That being said, having any breast surgery may possibly interfere with lactation, so the most conservative response is to defer breast reduction until after you have completed your family.  

Another factor to consider, women who develop large breasts, early, (virginal hypertrophy of the breast) tend to experience a "regrowth" with subsequent pregnancies and/or menopause, as fluctuations in hormones stimulate the breast.  I have attended some women who had insurance sponsored breast reductions in the teens and returned for cosmetic breast lifts in their 40's.  Hope this helps.  Good luck.

Lavinia K. Chong, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

Breast feeding and breast reduction

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Breast feeding may certainly be impacted by a breast reduction. Most studies on the subject suggest that the inferior pedicle technique may provide the most reliable ability to breast feed post-op.  However, that does not mean you won't need to supplement.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Breast feeding after breast reduction.

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If breast feeding is really, really important to you, do not have a reduction until you are through with childbearing.  If you area really, really miserable with you large breasts, please take a look at "The Case Against Breast Feeding"  in the Atlantic which discusses the brainwashing that has occurred around breastfeeding.  After reading it, you may think that being comfortable with your chest and using formula if necessary is just fine. 

Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder, lactational failure and mother of three healthy kids.

Lisa Lynn Sowder, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

Breast Reduction and Breast Feeding?

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Thank you for the question.

Theoretically, any type of breast operation has a potential for decreasing the chances that a patient will be able to successfully breast-feed. The  more extensive the operation the greater the likelihood that milk ducts  will be involved in that the patient will not be able to breast-feed.

Unfortunately, it is hard to know what percentage of ladies are  not able to breast-feed after the breast surgery  because some patients are not able to breast-feed without having had any type of breast operation.

With breast reduction surgery specifically,  despite extensive surgery on the breast gland, most patients are able to breast-feed successfully after the procedure. This is because a significant amount of tissue is left behind in the form of a “pedicle”. This tissue will supply the nipple areola complexes with milk ducts ( unless a free nipple graft technique is necessary).

I hope this helps.

Technique for breast reduction to retain ability to breast feed

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Not all women can breast feed regardless of having previous surgery.  The usual techniques of breast reduction with a pedicled technique usually allows for the possibility breast feeding.  A free nipple graft technique will sever breast ducts and this technique which is sometimes done in cases of extremely large breasts will prevent the ability to breast feed.  I have had many patients successfully breast feed after breast reduction. Discuss your concerns with your plastic surgeon if you are having a consultation for breast reduction.

Marialyn Sardo, MD
La Jolla Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

This website might be helpful--breast feeding after reduction

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I agree with Dr. Kraft.  There is no guarantee that breast feeding will be successful after breast reduction.  There is a website dedicated to breast feeding after breast reduction that has some good information about breast feeding after breast and nipple surgeries.  You may find it helpful. Good luck.

Breast reduction and breast feeding

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The breast reduction technique, either the inferior or superior pedicle, is determined based on the size of the breasts and the existing nipple heights rather than prospective breast feeding. There are no guarantees as to the ability to breast feed; many women cannot do so even without having undergone breast reduction surgery. I find that my patients choose not to breast feed and are very conservative in terms of pregnancy weight gain specifically to minimize the potential for revisional reduction or breast lift.

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.