Is it true that having cosmetic breast surgery will prevent me from breastfeeding in the future? Can I have an augmentation/lift/reduction without damaging my milk glands?
This is a question we encounter frequently at Southern Surgical Arts—for good reason. Preserving the ability to breastfeed is of vital concern to many women, and is an important consideration in the decision-making process.
The good news is that cosmetic surgery has made major strides in the past 10 years and we are better able to deliver satisfactory results while also minimizing the risk of losing breast function.
How well you are able to breastfeed after a cosmetic surgery ultimately depends on the type of surgery (lifts/implants/reduction; etc.), the surgical technique chosen for your procedure, and the skill of your cosmetic surgeon.
If you are considering a mastopexy, or breast lift, alone, you may wish to postpone your surgery until after you have finished having children. With pregnancy, your breasts will once again swell and change, altering the results of your breast lift.
If you still desire to have a lift before becoming pregnant or in between pregnancies, you should talk to your surgeon about what surgical technique is best suited to your situation. At Southern Surgical Arts, we have performed numerous “lollipop lifts.”
The lollipop lift is a surgical technique that disrupts half or less of the glandular tissue. There are other techniques that require less disruption of tissue; however, they may not provide the best or longest lasting results.
While your surgeon cannot guarantee you will be able to breastfeed afterward (results are highly individualized and depend on whether you smoke, the formation of scar tissue, etc.), this technique may give you the best chance of preserving breast function.
How well a woman can breastfeed after a breast enlargement procedure depends on large part on the type of breasts she had prior to the augmentation. Breasts that had little glandular tissue before will present the most challenges, however, certain surgical techniques, such as locating the incision under the breast itself or in the underarm area will be less disruptive than a procedure in which the areola is disturbed. As with all surgical procedures, you will be more likely to achieve the results you desire if you discuss your wishes for physical appearance as well as your intention to breast feed with your surgeon in advance. This will give him the opportunity to work with you to select the method that provides the best balance between aesthetics and function.
Of each of the breast surgeries discussed here, breast reduction runs the highest risk of disrupting breastfeeding function. This is due to the often extensive removal of glandular tissue required to help the patient achieve the look and comfort wanted. However, many women will still retain the ability to produce significant amounts of milk even after surgery.
Again, procedures in which the nipple is not completely severed offer the highest chances of retaining function. When consulting with your cosmetic surgeon, ask him or her how many breast reduction procedures they have performed and ask which surgical techniques improve your chances of breastfeeding post-surgery.
Women who wish to breastfeed after cosmetic breast surgery have more at stake than a pleasing appearance and increased comfort. For that reason, anyone interested in a breast-enhancing procedure should make sure to choose a board-certified cosmetic surgeon with experience performing many similar surgeries, and who is willing to listen and offer informed suggestions specifically tailored to the patient.
Dr. Chad Deal and Dr. Carey Nease are board-certified cosmetic surgeons who have performed thousands of breast augmentations, breast lifts and reductions. At Southern Surgical Arts, our patients’ concerns are our concerns. We are committed to honest, open communication and working with our patients to determine the best results to suit the individual. Call us at 423-266-3331 to set up a free consultation with one of our award-winning surgeons today.