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Solutions for Post Partum Breast Changes

Robert P. Hummel, M.D., F.A.C.S.

Many women experience changes in their breasts as a result of pregnancy and breast feeding. Most commonly there is a loss of volume and a lower position of the breast tissue and nipple. The upper portion of the breast typically flattens. Many women seek information from plastic surgeons to learn what options they have to address these post partum changes.

I recommend finding a physician certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (the only plastic surgery board recognized by the American Board of Medical Subspecialties). Make sure this doctor is permitted to perform any procedure recommended in a hospital. Even if the surgery is done in an office or surgery center setting, make sure you could have it performed in a hospital if you desired. Obtaining hospital operating privileges is more strenuous than at a surgery center, therefore you will be assured your surgeon has the proper training and experience.

The consultation should be informative. Make sure all your questions are answered. Remember that these procedures are cosmetic and therefore completely elective. Weigh the benefits you are expected to see against the cost, recovery time and possible complications before deciding to proceed.

Not all breasts change the same way. The preexisting size and shape effect the changes seen after pregnancy and breast feeding. Women whose breasts significantly increase during those times are likely to see more changes than those whose didn't. The plastic surgeon should take several measurements to assess the situation prior to making any suggestions.

Some patients need a breast lift (mastopexy). Others need only increased volume by way of breast implants (breast augmentation). Many women would obtain the best result with both. Sometimes these procedures are staged (for example a mastopexy followed at a later date by an augmentation). The length and positions of scars vary depending on how far the breast tissue and nipple need to be raised and how much tightening needs to be performed. Typically two weeks is required for recovery, during which heavy lifting and other strenuous activities need to be avoided.

Significant changes in the size and shape of the breast can occur by pregnancies and breast feeding. Obtain a more youthful and fuller shape can be accomplished with various procedures. Patient satisfaction with these types of surgeries is very high. Again, make sure you seek the expertise of a doctor certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

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