Does breast surgery affect milk supply?

Breast surgery is a common procedure chosen by many women for various reasons. Whether it be reconstructive or cosmetic, breast surgery has become increasingly popular in recent years. However, one question that often arises among women considering this type of surgery is, “Does breast surgery affect milk supply?” This intriguing question has gained significant importance as more women are choosing to increase their breast size or undergo reconstructive surgery post-mastectomy.

Breast milk is essential for a newborn’s nutrition and overall development. The ability to breastfeed is a natural process that many women aspire to experience. However, concerns about the impact of breast surgery on milk supply have made expecting and new mothers hesitant about undergoing such procedures. This hesitation is fueled by the fear that surgery might hinder their ability to breastfeed their babies successfully.

Fortunately, research has shown that breast surgery does not necessarily affect milk supply. A study conducted by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons revealed that breastfeeding is possible for women who have undergone breast augmentation surgery. The research indicated that the surgical approach used, such as inserting implants through the armpit or under the crease of the breast, did not significantly impair milk production or flow.

While breast surgery itself may not directly affect milk supply, it’s important to note that individual factors can influence breastfeeding success. For instance, the location and size of incisions, the presence of complications during surgery, or pre-existing conditions might impact the milk supply to some extent. Additionally, a cesarean delivery can also influence breastfeeding, as it can sometimes lead to delayed milk production.

To ensure a successful breastfeeding journey after breast surgery, there are certain steps women can take. Women should consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon experienced in breast surgery to discuss their desire to breastfeed in the future. This conversation will help develop a surgical plan that takes into consideration breastfeeding goals and minimizes potential risks. Additionally, seeking assistance from a lactation consultant pre and post-surgery can provide valuable guidance and support.

In conclusion, the question, “Does breast surgery affect milk supply?” has been the subject of much concern for women considering breast surgery. However, current research suggests that breast surgery does not have a significant impact on milk supply. While individual factors and complications may influence breastfeeding success, consulting with the right healthcare professionals can help mitigate these risks. Ultimately, women can feel reassured that breast surgery can still allow them to provide nourishment and bond with their newborns through breastfeeding.

How does breast surgery affect milk supply?

Breast surgery, such as augmentation or reduction, can potentially impact a woman’s ability to produce milk. It is important to understand how these procedures may affect lactation for women planning to breastfeed in the future. This article will provide in-depth information and discuss the potential implications of breast surgery on milk supply, addressing common concerns and guiding women towards making informed decisions about their breastfeeding journey.

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Does breast surgery affect milk supply?

Breast surgery is a common procedure that many women undergo for various reasons. However, one concern that often arises for women considering breast surgery is how it may affect their ability to breastfeed and their milk supply. Let’s delve into this topic and explore the impact of breast surgery on milk supply.

Types of breast surgery

There are different types of breast surgeries, including breast augmentation, breast reduction, breast lift, and breast reconstruction. Each of these surgeries involves unique techniques and considerations that can potentially affect milk supply.

Breast augmentation

Breast augmentation, also known as augmentation mammoplasty, involves the use of implants to enhance the size and shape of the breasts. This procedure is typically performed through incisions made in the breast crease, armpit, or around the areola.

  • Multiple studies have shown that breast augmentation surgery generally does not significantly affect milk supply.
  • The incision site and implant placement do not seem to have a significant impact on milk production.
  • In some cases, women with breast implants may experience a delay in lactation or difficulties with breastfeeding in the early postpartum period.

Breast reduction

Breast reduction, or reduction mammoplasty, is a surgical procedure aimed at reducing the size of the breasts by removing excess tissue and skin. This surgery involves reshaping and lifting the breasts to achieve a more proportionate and comfortable size.

  • Studies suggest that breast reduction surgery can have variable effects on milk supply.
  • Some women may experience a decrease in milk production due to the removal of glandular tissue during the procedure.
  • However, others may still be able to breastfeed successfully, especially if a significant portion of the milk ducts and glands are preserved.

Breast lift

A breast lift, or mastopexy, is performed to raise and reshape sagging breasts by removing excess skin and tightening the surrounding tissue. This procedure does not involve altering the breast size using implants or reducing breast tissue.

  • Typically, a breast lift alone does not significantly affect milk supply.
  • The surgery focuses mainly on the repositioning of breast tissue and does not involve the removal of glandular tissue that produces milk.
  • Women who undergo a breast lift can usually breastfeed without major disruptions.
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Breast reconstruction

Breast reconstruction is a surgical procedure performed to rebuild a breast mound and restore its shape after a mastectomy or significant breast tissue loss. Reconstruction can be accomplished using implants or through autologous tissue transfer (flap procedures).

  • The impact of breast reconstruction on milk supply can vary depending on the chosen technique.
  • If implants are used, the surgery does not typically interfere with milk production.
  • However, flap procedures, which involve transferring tissue from another part of the body to reconstruct the breast, may disrupt the milk ducts and reduce milk supply.

Overall, the effects of breast surgery on milk supply can vary depending on the specific procedure performed. It is important for women considering breast surgery who have future plans for breastfeeding to discuss their goals with a knowledgeable healthcare provider. They can provide individualized advice and guidance based on the type of surgery and specific circumstances.

Statistic: According to a study published in the Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, up to 84% of women who underwent breast augmentation surgery were able to successfully breastfeed.

Does breast surgery affect milk supply?


Q1: What types of breast surgeries can potentially affect milk supply?

A1: Surgeries such as breast reduction, breast augmentation, or breast lift may have an impact on milk production and supply.

Q2: How does breast reduction surgery impact milk supply?

A2: Breast reduction surgery involves removing excess breast tissue, which can potentially interfere with milk ducts and decrease milk production.

Q3: Can breast augmentation affect milk supply?

A3: Breast augmentation, or the placement of breast implants, generally does not directly affect milk supply. However, nipple incisions made during the surgery may potentially interfere with breastfeeding.

Q4: Does breast lift surgery influence milk supply?

A4: Breast lift surgery generally does not affect milk supply, as it primarily involves reshaping and repositioning the breasts. However, some incisions made during the procedure may impact breastfeeding.

Q5: Are there any other factors that can affect milk supply after breast surgery?

A5: Yes, other factors such as hormonal changes due to surgery, trauma to the breast tissue, or psychological stress can also impact milk production and supply.

Q6: Is it possible to breastfeed after breast surgery?

A6: Yes, it is possible to breastfeed after breast surgery, depending on the type of surgery and individual circumstances. However, it is recommended to consult with a lactation specialist for guidance.

Q7: Can medications used during or after surgery affect milk supply?

A7: Certain medications used during or after breast surgery may potentially affect milk production. It is crucial to discuss any medications with the surgeon and consult a lactation expert for guidance.

Q8: How can I increase milk supply after breast surgery?

A8: To increase milk supply after breast surgery, techniques such as frequent breastfeeding or pumping, maintaining proper hydration and nutrition, and seeking support from lactation consultants or support groups can be beneficial.

Q9: Are there any alternative ways to feed my baby if breastfeeding is not possible after breast surgery?

A9: If breastfeeding is not possible after breast surgery, alternative feeding options such as formula feeding or using donor milk can be considered. Consulting with a healthcare professional can help choose the best option for the baby.

Q10: Can I still breastfeed if I had breast surgery a long time ago?

A10: The ability to breastfeed can vary depending on the specific surgery and individual circumstances. However, many women successfully breastfeed after having had breast surgery, even if it was performed a long time ago.


In conclusion, the impact of breast surgery on milk supply is a complex and individualized issue. Several key insights can be gleaned from the various studies and research discussed in this article. Firstly, it is important to note that breast surgery, particularly procedures involving the milk ducts or nerves, can potentially interfere with milk production and result in a decrease in milk supply. However, the exact extent of this impact varies greatly depending on factors such as the type and extent of the surgery, breastfeeding techniques, and individual physiology.

Secondly, it is encouraging to see that many women who have undergone breast surgery are still able to successfully breastfeed their infants. Supportive interventions such as lactation counseling, skilled breastfeeding assistance, and the use of galactagogues can significantly improve milk supply and the overall breastfeeding experience for these women. It is crucial for healthcare professionals to provide appropriate education and support to women who have had breast surgery to help them navigate any potential challenges and ensure successful breastfeeding if desired.

Ultimately, while breast surgery may pose a risk to milk supply, it is not a definitive barrier to breastfeeding. With proper guidance and support, women who have had breast surgery can still have a positive breastfeeding experience and provide sufficient nourishment for their infants. Further research is needed to better understand the specific factors influencing milk supply post-surgery and develop tailored strategies to address individual challenges.