Many women that are interested in breast augmentation or breast lift surgery are worried about potentially losing the ability to breastfeed. As having children is a huge priority for many people, and breastfeeding is a big part of that, it is only natural that women would be concerned about this. In order to better understand the risks involved with these procedures and their potential effects on breastfeeding, it is first important to look at what the operations actually entail.
Understanding How Breast Surgery is Performed
One aspect of breast operations that is gravely misunderstood is anatomy. Some people have the idea that placing new material in the breast or shifting it in any way can somehow damage the mechanism responsible for producing and delivering milk to the nipple. While it is understandable why people would come to this conclusion, it simply isn’t true.
During breast augmentation surgery, the implants are placed between the chest wall and the breast. The breast ducts and mammary glands, which are responsible for milk production and secretion, are completely unaffected by this process. The same is true for fat transfer breast augmentation and breast lift operations. With breast reduction surgery, a good amount of glandular tissue is removed from the breast. However, there is usually enough tissue left over after surgery to enable milk production.
How Breast Surgery Can Affect Breastfeeding
Although breast augmentation and breast lifts don’t directly affect the system responsible for milk production, both operations can still have an effect on breastfeeding. One potential issue that can manifest as a result of surgery is decreased sensitivity in the breast and nipple. This is due to the fact that some incisions in the breast, especially around the areola, may sever nerves that are responsible for sensations in that area. While this won’t hinder milk production, it can have an impact on the amount of milk that is secreted during nursing. Milk secretion is ultimately stimulated by the newborn child, and if there is a decrease in sensitivity, the body’s response to that stimulus will be dampened.
Ensuring Adequate Milk Production
If you want to ensure you can breastfeed after a breast lift procedure, there are some things you can do. If you feel that you may be lacking in granular tissue, you can take natural supplements — under a doctor's supervision — that can increase milk production. Although uncommon, insufficient glandular tissue (IGT, or breast hypoplasia) is a condition that causes decreased milk production in the breasts. Women who have this condition do not develop the normal amount of breast tissue during puberty.
What is the Takeaway?
With any type of breast operation, there is the risk of impacting breastfeeding. In the rare event that this does happen, your milk production might be a little lower than expected. It is good to keep in mind that supplementing with formula is a perfectly fine way to ensure your baby gets all the nutrients it needs.
It’s important to discuss breastfeeding after breast surgery with your plastic surgeon. A one-on-one consultation can help put your mind at ease and direct you towards a procedure that is ideal for you.