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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 (23)

Breast implants and breast feeding [With Video]

+3

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 13 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 48 reviews

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

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 6 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 10 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 51 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 680 reviews

Breast Augmentation and Breast Feeding

+1
Our current state of knowledge is that Silicone Implants are Safe for Breast Feeding
The incision site, specifically the periareolar incision may cause blocked milk ducts and decrease your ability to breast feed though in my experience most will still be able. Remember not all women can breast feed successfully. Fat transfer for breast augmentation has not been around long enough for scientific studies so the answer is not in yet. It is a safe procedure but in my experience you are only talking about half a cup size per procedure.
Silicone implants are also safe and have the advantage of being predictable and allowing you the size you want. It should not interfere with breast feeding. Silicone Implants Are SafeDespite three decades of safety testing and monitoring of silicone breast implants, there is still a public perception that silicone breast implants are more toxic or dangerous than saline implants. The truth is that there has no known toxicity from silicone gel breast implants. In fact, silicone is one of the most common materials used in medical devices and implants. There is no known toxicity from silicone gel breast implants. It has been studied by the FDA for more than three decades to establish its safety. Silicone is the most common material used in medical devices/implants. Examples include shunts that go from the brain to the abdomen (for hydrocephalus) which are left in for a lifetime, artificial finger joints, syringes, IVs, catheters (including ones that go next to the heart), surrounding pacemakers, and even oral anti-gas tablets.
The one possible exception may by the PIP implant made in France (generally not available in the USA). Most of the concerns about the PIP implant were about the use of non-medical silicone and manufacturing problems, and do not relate to implants used in the United States by board-certified plastic surgeons. This is not to say that breast implants, like any implant, can have problems; they may have to be removed and are not meant to last a life time. Common reasons for replacement include: capsular contracture, rupture, infection, change in breast size, and pain—but not for toxicity.
To answer the perceived toxicity of Silicone by the general public—this is quite a different matter.
Breast implants have been around since the 1960s. About 15 years ago Connie Chung ran an exposé, Face to Face with Connie Chung, claiming silicone implants were responsible for different health problems. This led to lawsuits, a huge windfall for lawyers, and the subsequent ban on silicone implants for first-time breast augmentation patients went into effect. They were always available for breast reconstruction (e.g. after mastectomy) and replacement of existing silicone breasts. Also, please note that saline implants are still covered by a silicone envelope.
Soon after, a ban on silicone implant use became worldwide. This lasted for years until more than 100 clinical studies showed that breast implants aren’t related to cancer, lupus, scleroderma, other connective tissue diseases, or the host of other problems they were accused of causing.
June 1999, The Institute of Medicine released a 400-page report prepared by an independent committee of 13 scientists. They concluded that although silicone breast implants may be responsible for localized problems such as hardening or scarring of breast tissue, implants do not cause any major diseases such as depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, etc.
The Institute of Medicine is part of the National Academy of Sciences, the nation’s most prestigious scientific organization.
Eventually, a federal judge dismissed/rejected the lawsuits, declaring them junk science and ended for the most part the barrage of lawsuits. This led to the present reintroduction of silicone implants years ago and their approval by the FDA. Interestingly enough, most of the rest of the world reintroduced them many years prior to the United States

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Breastfeeding with breast implants

+1

It is safe to breast feed after breast augmentation.  Some women are unable to breastfeed for a variety of different reasons, but this is typically not related to history of breast augmentation. 

Dennis Dass, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 51 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.