Child Bearing Women: Cleared for Breast Surgery?

Child bearing women who wish to breast feed and desire breast augmentation, breast lift or reduction have been inclined to postpone breast surgery until after childbearing years because of the risks associated with breastfeeding following surgery.

The breast lift and breast reduction procedure may involve incisions that may inhibit the flow of breast milk. The breast augmentation procedure may be associated with a risk of inhibited breast milk flow, depending upon the location on the incision. For example, women that undergo breast augmentation through the armpit or belly button do not have the risk of impeding breast milk flow. There are also other reasons why childbearing women postpone breast surgery. Breast surgery may make the nipples more sensitive than normal. This may result in breast feeding being uncomfortable.

Not all child bearing women lose the ability to breastfeed following breast surgery. Yet, childbearing women interested in breast surgery can have greater comfort in knowing that there is an option should this risk become a reality?

New Option for Childbearing Breast Surgery Patients
Today, child bearing women that undergo breast augmentation, breast reduction or breast lift may locate a donor for breast milk. There are breast milk banks that screen and pasteurize milk from donor mothers who have pumped and stored their breast milk through freezing. The screening process for donors involves the disclosure of information that may impact the quality of the milk, including:

  • medical conditions
  • dietary habits
  • use of cigarettes, illegal drugs, over the counter medications, prescription drugs and supplements
  • blood tests for conditions such as sexually transmitted diseases, German measles, and hepatitis B and C.

In 2005, HMBANA, a non-profit organization comprised of 11 milk banks across the U.S., delivered over 745,000 ounces of milk, a 45% increase from 2000. Since then, the number of ounces delivered has been in excess of one million. Women may visit the HMBANA website for more information or contact milk banks on the following partial list.

Valley Medical Center, San Jose, CA
408-998-4550

Presbyterian / St Luke’s Medical Center, Denver CO
303-869-1888

Department of Pediatrics, Children’s Hospital of Iowa, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City, IA
877-891-5347 (toll free)

WakeMed, Raleigh NC
919-350-8599

Christiana Care Health System, Newark DE 19718
302-733-2340

Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin, Austin TX 78705
512-494-0800


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