Will I be able to breastfeed after a breast reduction?
Breast hypertrophy is a condition that determines the overdevelopment of the mammary gland tissue. As a result, the breasts can become much larger compared to the rest of the patient’s anatomy and hence cause different discomforts on a physical and emotional level.
Patients with overly large breasts can get relief from the unpleasant symptoms and health issues associated with having an excessive volume of the breasts if they undergo breast reduction surgery. There are no other methods to correct the size of the breasts aside from undergoing breast reduction surgery. Methods such as diets or massages don’t work because there is no way to reduce the excess of mammary gland tissue by dieting or massaging the breasts.
Some patients are interested in undergoing breast reduction but fear the long-term complications. It is a complex and delicate procedure that should be performed only by an experienced, talented board-certified plastic surgeon. Just like any other procedure, it can be associated with risks and potential complications; some of them avoidable while others can’t be prevented.
A question we often hear from patients interested in undergoing breast reduction surgery is related to the ability to breastfeed after the procedure. It is important for patients to understand that in a vast majority of cases, this will not be possible. To better understand what can be expected, let’s have a look at what happens when the procedure is performed.
The plastic surgeon will make incisions on the breasts to get access to the mammary gland tissue. A part of the glandular tissue is excised and eliminated to get smaller breasts and a more harmonious appearance. The milk ducts that are part of the glandular tissue that is removed will be eliminated too; hence the milk network is affected. The nipple and areola complex is also reduced and repositioned. This means that the plastic surgeon will need to section the nerves and blood network that feeds the nipple and areola. In some cases, this can result in changes in nipple sensitivity or a complete loss of sensation. If the sensation in the nipple is lost, the patient won’t be able to breastfeed. Also, if the milk network has been seriously affected when a large portion of the mammary gland tissue was excised, chances are the patient won’t be able to breastfeed any more after the surgery.
For some patients this might be a real inconvenience; hence the recommendation is to carefully weigh the pros and cons of undergoing breast reduction surgery before scheduling. Also, make sure you know all the details associated with the procedure.
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