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Will I be able to breast-feed after breast surgery?

Very commonly when we see patients in the office in consultation for aesthetic breast surgery, one of the issues that comes up is the ability to breast-feed. I commonly tell patients that, on average, 70% of American women find breastfeeding after breast surgery to be easy. Not every lady is able to breastfeed even if they have never had a breast augmentation surgery. In fact, many women struggle to produce enough breast milk and never quite achieve a full milk supply. In women who have breast augmentation, I commonly place the breast implants underneath the muscle from an inframammary approach, so there is very little surgical dissection through the breast tissue, glandular tissue, or milk ducts. In my experience, approximately 60 -70 of those individuals are able to produce milk and breastfeed their baby after breast augmentation with no significant difference from most mothers. Silicone breast implants should have no effect on your milk production.

When patients come in for evaluation of a breast reduction because of excessively large breasts, there are essentially two types of breast or nipple surgery that are performed. One is what is called a pedicle technique, where the nipple-areolar complex remains attached to the breast tissue and everything is moved up and tightened together. In those individuals, again, there is a 60 – 70 chance they could breastfeed enough to fully supply their baby’s nutrition if they hope to exclusively breastfeed. For ladies who have excessive macromastia or very, very large breasts, occasionally a nipple graft will be performed. In this procedure the nipple-areolar complex is removed, a breast reduction is performed and the nipple-areolar complex is placed back onto the reduced breast as a skin graft. Those individuals would not be able to breastfeed. At the time of the consultation for aesthetic breast surgery or breast reduction surgery, measurements are taken and we will have a specific discussion about the possible role of breast-feeding in the future.

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