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Breast Feeding with Breast Implants - Possible? What Are the Risks?

After years of trying, my husband and I just found out that we are about to have our first child.  I am ecstatic, but I am very worried that the breast augmentation I had about 7 years ago will interfere with my ability to breast feed.  And even if I can breast feed my baby, would I be putting him or her at risk by doing so?  Can anyone shed some light on this subject?  I would really appreciate it.

Doctor Answers (25)

Breast implants and breast feeding [With Video]

+4

On average, there's roughly a 90% chance that you will be able to breastfeed after having breast implants, on the assumption that you were able to breastfeed before the surgery. Normally the breast implant is inserted under the muscle (occasionally it is placed above the muscle as well) but doing so should not effect the direct relationship between the breast glands/ducts and the nipple.


Portland Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Most Patients Are Still Able To Breast Feed After Augmentation

+3

Your question is a common one and a big concern for clients interested in breast augmentation who also plan on having children. Although a very small subset of patients have difficulty breastfeeding following this procedure, most do not.

To lower the risks of interfering with breastfeeding, the general recommendation is to avoid the periareolar incision (because of the risk for interfering with nipple sensation) and to place the implant under the muscle.

And to make you feel better, breast implants should pose no risk to your breastfeeding infant.

Gregory A. Buford, MD, FACS
Denver Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Breast feeding after breast augmentation

+2

Congratulations on the upcoming baby! It's normal to be anxious about the breast augmentation in this regard but rest assured that it has been studied repeatedly without having found any negative association. Regardless of the technique of placement (inframammary -fold, transaxillary - armpit, or periareolar - nipple) the tissues that are operated on have nothing to do with the ducts where the milk travels through and your breast tissue is still there. This does NOT mean that you ARE going to be able to breast feed. It simply means that if you were programmed to be able to breast feed, studies have shown that breast implants do not change your capacity to do so.

Congratulations again on your baby,

DoctorMeade

Ricardo A. Meade, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 55 reviews

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Breast is still the best

+2

Congratulations on your pregnancy! There are so many documented advantages to breastfeeding your child (for both mom and baby) that I always suggest women try it.

Most women with implants are able to breastfeed because the implants cause very minimal disruption of the breast gland itself. Even if the implants are sitting submammary, the dissection usually doesn't disconnect the gland from the nipple.

You can expect the usual amount of breast expansion/engorgement with breastfeeding and the usual amount of breast deflation and droop that most women experience after finishing breastfeeding. This means you may need a revision surgery in the future in the same way that many women request augmentation or mastopexy after pregnancy.

There are no documented risks to babies - a study was even completed on women with silicone implants and there was no evidence of increased silicone in the breast milk.

Breastfeeding is difficult for many women - even those who have never had surgery on their breasts. Stick with it and get some support - try contacting your local La Leche League or attending breastfeeding classes or support groups. Breastfeeding is well worth it.

Kim Meathrel, MD
Ontario Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Breastfeeding is Absolutely Possible Following Breast Implants

+1
One of the main concerns women have before their breast augmentation here at our San Diego plastic surgery office is whether or not breastfeeding post-surgery is possible. Will there be enough milk for the newborn? Is it safe for the newborn to feed from breasts with implants? These questions are common among women who are interested in getting breast implants to improve the appearance, size, and shape of their breasts.

Breastfeeding is Absolutely Possible Following Breast Implants

By and large, many women who had a breast augmentation in the past and conceived at a later date were able to breastfeed without any difficulties at all. Interference in breastfeeding associated with breast augmentation doesn’t have to do with the surgery itself but where and how the incision is made.

The periareolar (incision on or around the areola) approach in making incisions during a breast augmentation, particularly on the lower outer quadrant, is susceptible to reduced nerve response from the nipple and areola, which may significantly affect milk production.

It should also be noted that the original state of your breasts prior to breast augmentation surgery could affect your ability to breastfeed. Certain breast types are known to cause difficulties in breastfeeding such as tubular-shaped breasts, underdeveloped breasts, asymmetrical breasts, and widely spaced breasts (greater than 1.5 inches of flat space between them).


Carlos O. Chacon, MD, MBA
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Breast Feeding and Breast Implants

+1
Breast feeding after a breast augmentation should not be any problem.  The operation usually does not alter the nipple, the milk ducts or the milk producing glands.  Therefore all systems should be good to go in term of making milk and nursing after your pregnancy.

There are rare circumstances in which a surgeon would have to cut into the ducts, like removal of a cyst at the time of the augmentation but again, that is extremely rare

I hope that helps.

Best regards.

Brian Windle, MD
Kirkland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Breast Feeding with Breast Implants

+1
Thank you for your question. This is a concern that many women considering augmentation share.  Implants typically do not interfere with breast feeding. Most women are able to breast feed after breast augmentation with no difficulty. However, this is based on the assumption that you would have been able to breast feed prior to implants. Breast feeding with implants should pose no threat to the health of your infant.  

Michael E. Ciaravino, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Breastfeeding with breast implants - possible? What are the risks?

+1
Hello! Thank you for your question! Breast procedures such as the breast augmentation and breast lift/reduction certainly result in a more shapely, perky, and fuller appearance of your breasts and give improved shaped, perkiness, and fullness. With the breast lift/reduction , since there is an incision made around the areola along with some rearrangement of tissue of the breast, there is a risk, albeit very small, of change in sensation to the area.   However, in terms of breastfeeding, studies have shown that there is no increased risk of changing your ability to do so after breast procedures. Not every woman can breastfeed...thus if you can now, your ability to do so will not change after such procedures. Your plastic surgeon will educate you on the risks and benefits of breast implants themselves.  Best wishes!

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Breast Implants Do Not Prevent You From Breastfeeding

+1
Women with breast implants can safely breastfeed their children, a fact that has been scientifically proven. However, you may experience a slower rate of milk production than women with natural breasts. Implants areplaced through peri-areolar incisions may increase the probability of breastfeeding issues.

The production of breast milk is greatly affected by the nerves and milk ducts of the breast. Since the breast’s nervous system is responsible for communicating with the brain and triggering the release of chemicals that start milk production, nerve damage can interfere with this process. The milk ducts work to carry milk to the nipple and facilitate feeding. If these ducts or breast nerves are damaged or cut during augmentation, they can limit a woman’s ability to breastfeed.

Jerome Edelstein, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 63 reviews

Breast Feeding with Breast Implants - Possible? What Are the Risks?

+1
Thank you for the questions.
 You may benefit from in person consultation with well experienced board-certified plastic surgeons.Most patients are able to breast-feed after breast augmentation.  It is okay to have the procedure done before you finished having children; You will not be exposing the infant to any risks.  When the time is right, see consultation with board-certified plastic surgeons to more specifically discuss your concerns, placement of incisions, timing of surgery… 
I hope this,  and the attached link, helps.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 754 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.