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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 28

Breast implants and breast feeding [With Video]

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.

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Most Patients Are Still Able To Breast Feed After Augmentation

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.

Breast feeding after breast augmentation

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 75 reviews

Breast is still the best

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

Breast feeding after breast augmentation is an extremely popular question in my practice. Generally what I tell patients is that the biggest factor to whether or not they will be able to breast feed after the procedure is actually whether they were able to breast feed before. Some percentage of women are never able to breastfeed and if you have not had a child yet to date it is impossible for me to know whether you fall in that minority of individuals who do not produce milk. Of the individuals who have had breast augmentation procedures performed in my practice I have yet to experience a patient not being able to breast feed after surgery who was able to breast feed before the procedure was performed.

Paul Vitenas, Jr., MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

Breast Feeding with Breast Implants is Possible

It’s not unusual for patients who have undergone breast augmentation to become pregnant. When this happens, they’re always concerned about their ability to breast feed their newborn child. The vast majority of breast augmentation patients are able to breast feed but there are several important considerations.
It’s important to realize that not every woman has the potential to breast feed and that some procedures can adversely impact the ability to bread feed. When periareolar incisions are performed, the ductal system has the potential to be impaired. Breast reduction and lift procedures can significantly disrupt the ductal system as well. Despite these exceptions the majority of patients have no difficulty breast feeding.
It’s also important to realize that there’s no scientific data to suggest that breast feeding in the presence of breast implants harms a newborn child. For this reason, breast implants don’t represent a contra indication to breast feeding.
Breast aesthetics can be adversely impacted by breast feeding. In many cases, patients lose breast volume and develop breast sag. These changes can occur with or without breast implants and may eventually require revisional surgery.
Despite these changes, the vast majority of women find breast feeding to be a gratifying experience that helps the developing relationship between mother and child.

Breast feeding IS in your future

First, congratulations to you and your husband on your pregnancy. There is more good news. Breast implant surgery should not interfere with breast feeding. At our practice, we almost always recommend submuscular implant placement with an inframammary incision (at the breast crease). As a result, nipple, breast glands and ducts are not directly impacted. Of course, if you have a medical condition that might have prevented you from breastfeeding - unrelated to the implant surgery - this could be an obstacle. For many moms and babies, breastfeeding is a true bonding experience. Your implants should not get in the way.  

Breastfeeding is Absolutely Possible Following Breast Implants

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).


Breast Feeding and Breast Implants

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 23 reviews

Breast Feeding with Breast Implants

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 27 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.