Lactation Before Breast Augmentation

I stopped breastfeeding dec 20; leaked a teeny bit (drops only for maybe a week afterwards. Since then I feel what I thought were phantom teeny droplets of milk (no let down feeling) but when I look down I see nothing! This morning when I looked really closely, I thought I saw a little wetness so I put a tissue over it to determine and there was the slightest bit there (clear fluid). This feeling happens probably about 3 times a day. Surgery is scheduled in 10 days with areolar incision.

Doctor Answers 15

Lactation prior to breast augmentation

Hello and thank you for the question. 

While there is not a lot of scientific literature covering this matter, there is an abundant amount of anecdotal information on the topic, as several of my colleagues have suggest. When discussing lactation in relation to a breast augmentation surgery I think there are two points that warrant mentioning: The first is the engorgement of the breasts that occurs during lactation and the related increase in breast size. Once breast feeding is completed, the breast will take at least a few months to reach a stable size following involution.  It is important   to give the breasts enough time to stabilize prior to performing a breast augmentation in order to achieve a more reliable post-operative result in terms of the breasts final "size".  

The second point worth mentioning is the actual lactation. Breasts can continue to lactate well after breast feeding has subsided. I have seen residual evidence of lactation well past the 6 month mark. Subsequently, I have my patients wait a year after breast feeding has concluded prior to performing a breast augmentation. It is especially important in my patient population as I perform a majority of breast augmentations via a peri-areolar approach. This approach, as compared to others, cuts through a considerable amount of breast ducts which do house bacteria such as Staphylococcus. This increased exposure to bacteria in breast ducts may contribute to increased capsular contracture rates. Thus, hypothetically, the longer out the patient is from breast feeding, the greater involution of breast ducts, the less the residual lactation and bacterial load. 

As one of my colleagues mentioned, the opinions of when is a reasonable time to proceed with a breast augmentation following breast feeding is variable. I recommend you consult with several board certified plastic surgeons who have extensive experience with breast augmentation surgery.

Kindest Regards,

Glenn Vallecillos, M.D., F.A.C.S.

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Lactation concerns

I want to first tell you, I think if you stopped breastfeeding in December, you and your surgeon have waited an acceptable length of time.  Surgeons have different opinions but 3 months is not an unusual reccomendation.   I personally like 6 months in my practice because of cases like yourself where lactation may continue for sometime.  Since you are worried, if I were your doctor I would consider postponing your case.  If you were to proceed, I think a different approach through either the axilla or breast crease would be better while placing an occlusive sterile dressing over your nipples throughout the case.  I hope this helps.  You can refer to my website to see videos about the various incisions used in augmentation.

Vishnu Rumalla, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 197 reviews

Lactation and Breast Surgery

Lactation normally will continue for some time after you have stopped breast feeding. There is a normal process of "involution" where the breast will shrink as it no longer needs to produce milk. The key is how much swelling or size of the breast is related to lactation.  It is important for this to subside prior to proceeding with surgery so a decision isn't made on the lactation size of the breast vs. the normal size.  A few drops of clear liquid is likely of no concern and the ducts are routinely avoided in breast surgery, even if there is an areolar incision.

Best of luck

Vincent Marin, MD, FACS

San Diego Plastic Surgeon

Vincent P. Marin, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Lactation and breast augumentation

It is best to wait for 3 months post breast feeding before breast surgery.  As much involution as possible helps the surgeon make better judgements at the preop planning appointment.  A breast that is not producing milk has much less vascularity, thus less bleeding with surgery .    A few drops of clear fluid from the nipple is likely of little concern.   

H. Michael Roark, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Lactation and breast augmentation

The breast will continue to lactate with stimulation, and though things are dry and have stopped, my suggestion is to wait just one more month to be certain. It can't hurt to have a short delay and reduce the risk of a galactocoel, milk collection in the breast pocket, or an infection.

Best of luck,


Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Breast augmentation and lactation

I usually have my patients wait about 6 months to have an augmentation after they stop breast feeding.  Assuming that the breast are no longer lactating.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Lactation and Breast Augmentation

In general the longer you wait after a significant change the better. In the case of pregnancy or breast-feeding, I believe it is best to wait about 6 months before you have surgery. That way you surgeon will have a better idea of what you will need to give you the optimal results. This may also decrease the risk of infection associated with the milk production.

Asaad H. Samra, MD
New Jersey Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

Breast Augmentation after Breast Feeding

I recommend waiting 6 months after breast feeding before having a breast augmentation.  This will allow your breast to reduce back  to the size they were before pregnancy.  Often, your breasts will end up being smaller than they were prior to your pregnancy.  By waiting, your surgeon will be able to better assess the size of implants needed to achieve your desired breast size.  Additionally, you increase the risk of infection and forming a galactocoel after surgery.  This would be especially true using a peri-aerolar approach. 

Brian Joseph, MD
Orlando Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

Breast augmentation-how long after breast feeding stops

It is better that lactation is stopped before having your breast enlargement. There could be an increase incidence of infection.  I usually recommend that my patients wait about 6 months after pregancy and delivery to have breast implants. Before that time the breasts are still larger than what they will be. We have an unbeatable all inclusive breast augmentation special we are offering at this time. Watch my videos. 

Edward J. Domanskis, MD
Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Breast augmentation after breastfeeding.

I recommend waiting 6 months after breastfeeding prior to breast augmentation. There are many reasons to wait but the most obvious are:

  • The breasts are still quite engorged and your results from augmentation will be less predictable
  • Lactation can take several months to cease

I recommend waiting until the spontaneous lactation ceases and your breasts return to your pre-pregnancy state prior to undergoing cosmetic breast surgery.

David Bogue, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 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.