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Breast surgery is a big commitment. Like any other plastic surgery, there are significant benefits to be gained; however, there are also risks to keep in mind and questions to ask before undergoing the procedure.
For many women, one of these risks involves one common question:
Can I still breastfeed after surgery?
What Kinds of Breast Surgery Are There?
Breast surgery is popular among many age groups because of its wide range of benefits. Breast enhancement surgery can enlarge naturally small breasts, minimize overly large breasts, and rejuvenate a bust that has changed due to aging or pregnancy.
These procedures can be performed alone or in combination with one another to obtain optimal results. The most popular breast surgeries include:
Each of these procedures requires different techniques with varying incisions. And while some of these techniques do not affect the milk glands, others cannot necessarily say the same.
Can I Breastfeed After My Breast Surgery?
A woman’s ability to breastfeed after breast surgery can be difficult to explain. This is because the capacity will vary from person to person depending on genetics and which techniques were used during the breast enhancement.
There is a system of milk ducts that run from the base of the breast to the nipple. While some incisions, implant placement, or tissue removal do not come into contact with these milk ducts, other incisions and traumas can damage the connection between these ducts and the nipple that is not easily repaired.
If this connection is damaged during your surgery, you may experience reduced or no production of milk.
Factors that can affect your ability to breastfeed include:
Your Choice of Surgery
Often, breast augmentation inserts implants through an incision made along the inframammary fold. This incision choice should not sever or damage the connection of the milk ducts; therefore, there is a good chance that you will not experience any complications breastfeeding later in life.
Alternatively, incisions made around the areola (as is possible with breast augmentation, breast lift surgery, and breast reduction) can potentially damage that connection.
This risk increases during breast lift surgery or breast reduction because the tissue is being removed and rearranged.
Having Multiple Surgeries
It should not be surprising that your overall risks increase with each additional procedure. A woman undergoing an initial breast augmentation will often have less risk to her breastfeeding ability than a woman who is undergoing a secondary breast procedure or a breast augmentation with a breast lift.
Complications During Healing
Complications during healing can create excess scar tissue or cause other complications, which may require additional surgery. For example, capsular contracture is a complication after breast augmentation that requires the removal and replacement of the implant. This process can put your milk ducts at heightened risk for damage.
Having a breast surgery may not leave you completely unable to breastfeed, but there may be reduced milk production.
When Should I Consider Breast Surgery?
Some women consider breast surgery before having children. Others desire a procedure because of the damage caused by having their children.
Even though it is not always possible, it is traditionally advised to postpone breast surgery until after you have had children.
Breast augmentation and breast reduction are popular among younger patients looking to improve their aesthetic; however, you may want to consider your future plans before getting the surgery.
There is no way to guarantee your ability or inability to breastfeed. The best thing to do is to weigh your options and discuss your concerns with your surgeon.