Can I Breastfeed after Breast Reduction?

Breast reductions are commonly performed on women of child bearing age. For this reason, it is critical that women considering surgery understand the impact that breast reduction may have on their ability to breast feed. We’re going to cover this topic today. If you don’t know much about breast reduction surgery, you may want to read up on how the surgery is performed.

Photo credit: shutterstock.com

Photo credit: shutterstock.com

There are two main types of breast reduction surgery, and they affect breast-feeding differently:

  • In a free-nipple breast reduction, the nipple is removed completely from the breast and placed back on as a skin graft. This severs the milk ducts, thus making breast feeding after surgery impossible. This type of reduction is not particularly common, and is generally reserved for patients with exceptionally large breasts, or medical conditions which put them at risk of healing problems, such as diabetes or smoking.
  • In a pedicle breast reduction, the nipple is left attached to the underlying breast tissue. This means the milk ducts are left intact, and breast feeding should be possible. But some breast tissue has been removed, meaning the breast might not make as much milk as it would have without the reduction surgery. Overall, however, the success rate for breastfeeding after breast reduction appears to be fairly similar to the success rate for women who have not had breast reduction surgery.

So what does this mean for you? If you are planning on having children, and breastfeeding is extremely important to you, then the safest course of action is to wait to have breast reduction surgery until you are finished having children. If you are unsure about breastfeeding, then at least be certain you understand how breast reduction surgery can affect your ability to breastfeed.

 

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Disclaimer: This webpage is for general information only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical illness, or give any specific medical advice. Because medical knowlege is constantly evolving, I cannot guarantee the accuracy or timeliness of any information in this blog.

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