Breast Surgery and Breastfeeding
Many women who are considering breast surgery are concerned about how surgery might affect their ability to breastfeed a child. The variability in the ability to breastfeed is extremely diverse and dependent upon many factors, including the type of breast surgery a woman has had, her health and course of pregnancy affects such as hormones, medication, mother’s tate of mind, attitude, motivation and environment. Breastfeeding ability can never be guaranteed after any surgical procedure on the breast. Many women, who have no history of breast surgery, have difficulty breastfeeding for various reasons. Problems such as sore nipples, painful engorged breasts, leaking milk, mastitis and failure to latch on by the infant can occur to women with or without breast surgery.
In order to understand how breast surgery may affect breastfeeding, it is important to first understand the anatomy of the breast. Each breast has 4-18 ducts that produce milk and drain into the nipple. Most of the milk producing tissue lies within 3 centimeters of the areola of the breast.
If future breastfeeding is a consideration to the patient, the surgical plan should minimize damage to milk ducts and the nerves to the breast. With an areolar border incision, some of the breast ducts at the lower portion of the areola may be cut. However, in the majority of women, the remaining ducts are sufficient to produce enough milk to feed an infant. Regardless, if a woman wants to ensure breastfeeding, Dr. Serota recommends an incision under the breast fold or away from the nipple. Many patients are able to successfully breastfeed following breast lift and breast reduction procedures with or without implants.
A woman who has had surgery to treat breast cancer and who is planning to become pregnant and then breastfeed should discuss possible problems with her cancer specialist (oncologist). Depending on the type of cancer and the kind of treatment she had, she may still be able to breastfeed.
For more information about breast surgery and breastfeeding, contact Advanced Cosmetic Surgery Center at 303-367-9000 or serotamd.com.