Part II of Dr. Whiteman’s Intern Blog Series: “Can I still breastfeed after breast reduction?”

The second blog in a series of guest blogs from Dr. Whiteman’s interns.

In simple terms, breast reduction surgery involves removing part of the breast tissue in order to decrease the size of the breast. It is one of the most common cosmetic procedures performed on young women today, and has an extremely high satisfaction rate. Most of the young women who are considering breast reduction surgery are simply tired of the neck pain, shoulder pain, back pain, uncomfortable attention, peer pressure, lifestyle limitations, poor self-image and sometimes sexual harassment. Upon having the breast reduction procedure, these patients can significantly regain a confident self-image and increase their self esteem. Breastfeeding is often an uncommon concern at the time of breast reduction surgery; however, when the time for breastfeeding arrives, there are some common questions that arise. “Can I breastfeed my baby at all after breast reduction?” “Would my decision to have a breast reduction years ago affect my ability to feed, nurture, and bond with my baby at the breast now?”

To answer those burning questions, one must understand what breastfeeding really means. Breastfeeding should not be viewed as an “all or nothing” event, but should rather be viewed as how much milk a mother can produce. When the question is viewed from this perspective, breastfeeding after breast reduction is a very viable possibility. Breast reduction surgery, or any type of breast surgery, will almost always compromise a woman’s lactation potential to some extent, but the good news is a woman can still breastfeed her baby even if she cannot produce a full supply of milk. Breastfeeding a baby is not just about milk; more than that, it is about the special bonding created naturally between the mom and her newborn at the breast. Therefore, it is absolutely worthwhile to attempt breastfeeding even if breast reduction surgery causes reduced milk supply during lactation. It should be noted that there are ways women can increase their milk supply such as a supplementer, breast pump, etc. Education, support from family and doctor, reassurance, and patience are key factors needed for successful breastfeeding. If a mother is able to breastfeed, she will increase that special bond with her child allowing her to better nurse, comfort, and soothe her child. No matter the amount, as long as a mother can give her child any human milk at all, it will be well worth the effort.

Therefore, it is extremely important for young women to express their desire to maintain their breastfeeding ability when consulting with a plastic surgeon prior to breast reduction surgery. Mothers will have more successful breastfeeding capability if their surgeon takes care to preserve their mammary tissue, vital nerves, and ducts during the breast reduction procedure. Lactation capability is influenced by the type of breast reduction surgery a mother had done as some surgical techniques will preserve more lactating breast tissue than others. It is never too late to learn about the type of breast surgery you have had, or plan to have, and its impact on your breastfeeding capability.

At Southern Plastic Surgery, Dr. Whiteman and his staff are dedicated to making you comfortable and confident in your decision for a breast reduction procedure by making sure that you completely understand the procedure, expectations and possible outcomes. Dr. Whiteman and his staff are glad to answer any questions you may have before and after your surgery. At Southern Plastic Surgery, we are here to make your life easier and more meaningful in any way possible. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at (770) 622-9100 or visit www.southernplasticsurgery.com to learn more about breast reduction surgery options.

The Sport of Giving Helps Give Local Atlanta Women Access to Breast Cancer Diagnoses

As an active board member and medical director for The Sport of Giving, Dr. Whiteman is committed to supporting breast cancer care and prevention in the local Atlanta community. The Sport of Giving, a nonprofit that raises money for women’s cancer care and prevention in local communities around the nation, was founded in north metro Atlanta, and has since risen over $1.2 million dollars for the local Atlanta community.

It is the goal of The Sport of Giving to raise funds for local programs and medical equipment needed to allow women access to the very best medical care, support, education, and cancer prevention. What makes them different than other breast cancer and women’s cancer organizations is that ALL of the money raised goes towards the local community in which it was raised.

One such local initiative that The Sport of Giving took on for the Duluth, GA community was funding a diagnostic mammography center biopsy program at Gwinnett Medical Center, Duluth. Since the program’s inception last May, 215 patients have been examined and 38 women have been diagnosed with breast cancer. That is 215 women who are taking a more active role in their health and 38 women that have caught breast cancer earlier than they otherwise might have without these diagnostic resources.

With the assistance of The Sport of Giving’s fund raising efforts and the generosity of donors/event participants, you can see for yourselves the very important role we are playing in the community and the impact our efforts have had. For any nonprofit/volunteer organization, it is important that people know exactly where and to whom their money, time, and hard work is going towards. It gives them motivation to continue giving, and puts faces to the cause.

If you are looking for a way to start your involvement with The Sport of Giving, you can start by attending Pink in the Rink – a Gwinnet Gladiators hockey game where they dye the ice pink and raise money for breast cancer organizations, including The Sport of Giving. To find out more information, visit Southern Plastic Surgery’s facebook fan page and click on the Pink in the Rink event page posted on his wall! We hope you will answer “attending”! You can also call (770.622.9100) or email Dr. Whiteman’s office for more information.

Visit www.thesportofgiving.org for more ways you can get involved.

Older Women Who Drink Alcohol May Have Higher Risk of Recurrent Breast Cancer

A recent study presented at the American Association for Cancer Research San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium suggests that older women who have three to four alcoholic beverages a week are more likely to have their breast cancer return.
The study, performed though Kaiser Permanente Northern California Cancer Registry, looked at 1,900 women who had beaten early-stage invasive breast cancer between the years of 1997 and 2000. The women, who self-reported the amount of alcohol they consumed weekly, were followed for eight consecutive years.

The findings revealed that the women who reported drinking less than a half a drink a day had no higher risk of the breast cancer returning. However, women who reported drinking three to four alcoholic beverages a week experienced a 30 percent increased risk of breast cancer recurrence. The more alcohol the women reported drinking, the higher the risk. The study also found the risk to be even higher in the women who were overweight.

Researchers believe the cause of these findings to be linked to estrogen. Many breast cancers are propelled by estrogen, and alcohol has been known to increase the rate in which a women’s body processes estrogen.

While these findings do not mean that if you drink alcohol you will get breast cancer or that your breast cancer will return, it is simply another reason to consume alcohol in moderation and strive to maintain your overall health.

Dr. Whiteman is a board member and serves as medical director for The Sport of Giving, a nonprofit organization that has raised over a million dollars in support of breast cancer care and prevention in the local area. It is progressive research such as this study that will help women to be informed about the disease and allow them to make the healthiest choices possible.

For more about Dr. Whiteman’s involvement in the breast cancer cause and to learn about his breast reconstruction ‘buddy system’ visit our website.