Busting Myths: Breast Reduction Surgery, Pregnancy, and Breastfeeding
Can you breastfeed after receiving a breast reduction?
Breast reduction surgery, also known as reduction mammoplasty, reduces tissue, fat, and excess skin to restore functionality, alleviate physical discomfort, and improve the aesthetic appeal of the bustline. Patients typically seek out breast reductions to reduce back pain from carrying heavy breasts and to have a more proportionate figure. Depending on the patient’s original, pre-op cup size, breast reduction surgery can reduce the breasts down to two entire cup sizes. However, the breasts can occasionally return to their pre-op size, a possibility you should discuss with your doctor during your initial consultation.
Breast Reduction Surgery: Why, Who, Pros, and Cons
Breast reduction surgery is a deeply personal decision and is commonly performed for patients with the following symptoms:
- Back and neck pain
- Skin irritation beneath the breasts and the formation of skin tags
- Poor posture due to excessive breast weight
- Labored breathing
If you suffer from the above symptoms you are an excellent candidate for breast reduction surgery. Patients who have the most successful results:
- Are mentally, emotionally, and physically healthy
- Have realistic expectations of the surgery’s outcome
- Are candid about their medical history and body goals
- Have skin with optimal elasticity to ensure tightness and firm “bounce back” post-op
- Old enough to where breast development has completely stopped
Following surgery and subsequent recovery of about two-six weeks, patients can expect to feel less pain and discomfort along with perkier breasts that flatter the figure. Patients typically report feeling more confident and less of a need to hide in bulky clothing after surgery. As with any procedure, there is the potential for complications and breast reduction is no exception. Some procedures can result in:
- Decreased nipple sensation
- Regaining unwanted breast tissue and fat
- Potential for being unable to breastfeed, hence the reason why most women will bear the burden of their prodigious bustline until AFTER childrearing years.
The Impact of Breast Reduction on Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Like any cosmetic procedure, breast reduction surgery is a life-changing decision and all variables need to be considered, good and bad, especially if you’re looking to become pregnant and eventually breastfeed. Pregnancy hormones prepare the body for breastfeeding, therefore exponentially increasing breast size. This is one of the main reasons most women will opt to wait until their baby-making years end before considering much-needed breast reduction surgery. In fact, many women will add breast reduction to their post-pregnancy “Mommy Makeover” cosmetic package. It’s important to remember that breast growth during pregnancy is only temporary and you should return to your normal, pre-baby bust size. However, there is no way of knowing if the shape of your breasts will be permanently altered. Some women’s bustlines bounce right back, while others experience a deflated look. It’s somewhat a gamble to have the procedure prior to breastfeeding. I urge my patients to hold off until after they’ve completed breastfeeding unless their pain and discomfort is unbearable.
Another important variable to consider with pregnancy and breast reduction surgery is breastfeeding. Again, there really is no way of determining beforehand if having the surgery prior to pregnancy will negatively impact your ability to breastfeed your child. Every woman is different, and this is something you need to discuss in detail with your doctor.
Because there are no guarantees that you’ll be able to successfully breastfeed your baby or that your breasts will return to their pre-baby size and shape, it’s probably best to wait to undergo breast reduction surgery until you’re completely done with the baby-making process. Like any invasive cosmetic procedure, breast reduction surgery is costly, requires ample time to recover and recoup, and doesn’t guarantee its results will be unaffected post-pregnancy, including the ability to breastfeed. Undergoing a complete medical and physical evaluation and discussing your body goals with your doctor will determine the best course of action for your breast reduction surgery.
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