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 32

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.

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,


Ricardo A. Meade, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 108 reviews

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 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

Breastfeeding following Breast Augmentation

To understand breastfeeding, it helps to understand the breast. From the nipple spread multiple ducts that extend into the substance of the breast. Each duct ends at a region of milk producing glands. Hormones (of various types) initiate milk production and suckling helps move the process along. When a plastic surgeon performs a breast augmentation, they place the inert implant either beneath the milk producing tissues or deep to the pectoralis muscle. In either case, we aren't removing or seriously damaging the glands. Some studies have suggested that some breast tissue can be squeezed by the implant and subsequent swelling and this may later limit milk production. Though no one will say this can't happen, the incidence of women who can not breast feed is roughly the same whether they have implants or not.

A valid question is whether the incision site can effect breastfeeding. The answer is possibly. Depending on the details of the surgical procedure, some ducts can be so damaged that they don't function following periareolar incisions. So in cases of women who really want to maximize their chance of breast feeding, I would avoid the periareolar incision. 

But if you already have implants and plan to breast feed, there is little risk at all of doing harm to your child. In the past, some suggested that silicone gel could travel down the ducts and get into the child. That was based on a type of silicone gel that is no longer used and hasn't been used in decades. I wish you the best of luck.

Peter D. Geldner, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Breast-Feeding after Implants

Thank you for your question.  Your question is actually a very common one and a common concern for patients thinking about undergoing a breast augmentation procedure.  It is a difficult question to answer, however, because unless you have already successfully breast-fed a child, it is impossible to say whether or not breast-feeding would have ever been in the cards for you.  Some women, without any breast surgery, are simply not able to breast-feed.  

With that said, breast implants should not interfere with your ability to breast feed, especially if placed in the sub-pectoral pocket (below the chest muscle) and through an infra-mammary or breast crease incision.  Avoiding the nipple-areolar complex and a peri-areolar incision is important because it lowers your risk for disrupting nipple sensation and the underlying breast tissue and ductal glands.  Furthermore, breast implants should not pose any risk to a breast-feeding baby but if you are concerned I would strongly recommend following up with your operating surgeon.  Best of luck!  

Breast Feeding After Breast Augmentation

Hello and thank you for this question!  

When performed by a skilled and experienced board certified plastic surgeon, breast augmentation surgery should not interfere with the milk ducts or glands in the breast. Regardless of breast implant placement and/or incision location, most women who become new mothers after surgery should be able to breastfeed safely and effectively, assuming their bodies were capable of lactating prior to surgery.  To read more about this topic please click on the link below.

Jon Paul Trevisani, MD, FACS
Maitland Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

Breastfeeding with Breast Implants

Breast feeding should be possible after breast augmentation.  If this is a major concern before surgery I would suggest using an inflammatory crease incision or transaxillary incision and having the implant placed behind the chest muscle.

John Burns, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 31 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
4.8 out of 5 stars 99 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.

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.