Half a million women choose to get a breast reduction for different reasons, most including health purposes. However, this decision doesn’t come lightly and can impact your ability to breastfeed later in life. If you’re considering getting breast reduction surgery, it’s critical to consider breastfeeding if you plan to have babies in the future. Talk to your surgeon and let them know you plan to get pregnant to develop the best plan not to hinder your chances of breastfeeding in the future.
With medical advancements, your surgeon can take breastfeeding into account when performing your breast reduction. Most plastic surgeons already perform surgery in a manner to protect lactation function. However, if large amounts of breast tissue are removed or the ducts that deliver milk to the nipple are severed, breastfeeding can be negatively impacted. While breastfeeding isn’t impossible after a breast reduction, the amount of milk produced may be reduced after surgery.
In more minor breast reduction cases, only Liposuction is done to reduce the breast size. However, an incision is made around the nipple and down toward the breast crease in most cases. In this case, the areola’s size is reduced and moved higher up on the chest. Luckily, the blood supply, nerves, and milk ducts can be kept intact. The nipple/areola may need to be removed entirely and reattached like a skin graft for more significant reduction cases. When the nipple-areola is removed, the sensation is likely to return, but the ability to breastfeed is unlikely.
Regardless of the efforts taken to preserve the ability to breastfeed, there’s no way to know for sure if you’ll be able to breastfeed until you’ve had a baby. Luckily, there are lactation consultants if you are finding it difficult or cannot breastfeed and methods to help if you cannot do so on your own. There are different methods such as lactation aid and even supplements that might help. Ultimately, breast reduction surgery doesn’t mean you won’t be able to breastfeed in the future. However, it’s important to take future pregnancies into account if considering a breast reduction and talk to your surgeon to take precautions and plan accordingly.