Breast Reduction: Things to Consider
It is important that all women considering a breast reduction understand the possible risks and complications of surgery, especially those that relate to the unique functions of the breast. The female breast serves two important functions: production of breast milk and erogenous sensation to the nipple and areola.
The superomedial technique of breast reduction I most commonly perform has the best likelihood of preserving the ability to breastfeed after surgery as well as the recovery of nerve sensation to the nipple, and in turn, erogenous sensation and sexual stimulation.
However, there is no guarantee that a woman will be able to breastfeed her babies after any breast surgery, and the ability to produce milk – as well as for the baby to “latch” onto the breast – is also not certain, regardless of whether a woman has ever had a procedure on her breasts or not. I encourage all women to attempt to nurse after a breast reduction, because “breast is best” for their baby! I ask them to follow up with me and let me know whether they were successful in nursing their children – and most of the time, they are!
Likewise, it can take many months to sometimes a year or more for sensation to the nipple to fully recover. After age 30, it takes nerves longer to recover. While this can be distressing to some women, I reassure my patients that “nerves are like tree roots,” and they want to continue growing slowly and at their own pace. If a woman has not regained full sensation to the nipple at a year, she is reassured that the nerves will continue to recover and that they should continue to regain sensation for a number of years to come, often achieving greater sensitivity than before surgery!
Breast reduction surgery is a wonderful procedure that is consistently the most satisfying procedure the Plastic Surgery world has to offer! There will be a “body image adjustment” period after surgery as a woman gets used to her new breast size and body form. Following the physical recovery after surgery, women usually exclaim, “Why did I wait so long?” and are uniformly thrilled with their cosmetic outcome and their decision to have surgery.
– Karen Horton, MD – Board Certified San Francisco Plastic Surgeon and breast reduction specialist
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If you are interested in breast reduction and would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Horton, or if you have any questions and/or concerns regarding the procedure, please feel free to contact us today.