Although thousands of women undergo or want to undergo breast reduction surgery for a variety of reasons, yet there are so many misconceptions about this surgery that continue to circulate.
The most pervasive discussion revolves around the ability of a woman to breastfeed after breast reduction surgery.
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Breastfeeding is an excellent opportunity and choice for a mother as well as the baby to develop a close and nourishing bond. So, any desire to change the normal breast configuration needs special consideration to avoid future loss or regret.
It is definitely not easy to find the exact outcome related to breastfeeding after breast reduction surgery as there are so many variables and different experiences from the patients who had undergone the surgery and tried breastfeeding afterwards. But definitely, there are some popular facts and myths related to this topic that can help a person make a choice to get the surgery performed or drop the idea.
Myths about breastfeeding after breast reduction:
- All breast reduction procedures eliminate the chances of breastfeeding: Having breast reduction surgery may or may not affect your ability to breastfeed depending upon the type of procedure opted for removing extra fat and tissue from the breast.
o The procedure that does not disrupt the milk ducts and nipple will allow the female to successfully breastfeed after breast reduction surgery.
o The breast reduction procedures that involve the relocation of the nipple may affect your ability to breastfeed after the procedure.
- Full breastfeeding is not possible: Full breastfeeding may be possible in females who had undergone breast reduction with the pedicle technique, but it is rarely possible with the free-nipple technique because blood supply of the nipple-areola is completely disconnected.
- The non-pedicle surgery will always result in no lactation: Although it is not common with non-pedicle surgery, some possibility of lactation remains because of the miraculous process of recanalization.
- Inability to breastfeed is specifical because of breast reduction surgery: Contrary to the popular belief, a female's inability to breastfeed her child is not just because of the surgery. It may also be because of the less inherent capacity to lactate. This capacity is unique for every female and is according to her own unique physiology and anatomy. There are some females who are unable to lactate even without any surgery due to less inherent lactation capacity.
- No external factors can induce lactation after breast reduction surgery: Contrary to this popular myth, external factors like female's state of mind, attitude, environment, and support structure can significantly influence the milk production even after breast reduction surgery.
How to ensure a successful breast reduction surgery that does not interfere with breastfeeding?
- Discussion with the surgeon can save my breastfeeding ability: Make sure to discuss your wish to breastfeed with your surgeon during the pre-surgical consultation, so that he can plan your surgery accordingly. There are various options available that can work to reduce the size of your breast while keeping the mammary system (milk producing system) intact.
- External support helps the mother to lactate: Patient encouragement to breastfeed even after breast reduction surgery exceptionally raises the chances of lactation in new mothers.
- Manipulation of milk production is possible: Intake of herbal and prescription galactagogues (milk-inducing substances), special massage techniques, and pumping can be effective and can increase milk supply.
- A longer gap between the surgery and the pregnancy may enable lactation: This could be possible because of repair (heal) and redevelopment of the mammary system.
The bottom line is, although it is a very personal decision to get breast size reduced for an improved contour but it is wise enough if you can wait until your childbearing desires end or you are done having children and breast feeding them. Also as for every surgical procedure, it is most important to discuss your desires, pros and cons of each approach with your surgeon before deciding to go for it.