Breast Implants and Breastfeeding

Women who visit me for a breast augmentation consultation in my NJ plastic surgery office sometimes ask me if breast implants will make it difficult, or even impossible, to breastfeed future children.

Let me state the following first:

  • With or without implants, not every woman can breastfeed
  • Implants in and of themselves, do not interfere with breast feeding
  • What’s more likely to affect breastfeeding is the location of the incision used to insert the breast implant(s)

Incisions made under the fold of the breast (called the inframammary fold) or through the armpit (called a transaxillary incision) shouldn’t cause any trouble. However, inserting the implant through the areola does create more risk for breastfeeding problems if the milk ducts or the nerves around the areola are cut or damaged during surgery. The nerves trigger the brain to release oxytocin and prolactin, the hormones that affect milk production, and the ducts deliver the milk to the nipple.

If you have not yet completed your family, I suggest that you discuss these issues with me prior at your consultation, to make sure both of you are in complete agreement about the location of your incisions.

It should be mentioned that, should you develop an infection in the nipple or mastitis while breastfeeding, the infection could lead to a breast abscess. In a woman with implants, this could create an infection of the implant or the pocket in which the implant is placed, leading to implant problems. Further, remember that breastfeeding can cause breast sagging (called ptosis). An implant won’t prevent sagging. Therefore, a breast lift may need to be performed after you are finished building your family.

In terms of any concerns about leakage from breast implants, there is no evidence that silicone leaks into breast milk, but even if it did, it probably wouldn’t harm your baby. Silicone is very similar to a substance used to treat babies’ stomach gas.

In most cases, however, breast implants should not affect the ability to breastfeed or produce milk.

To your health & beauty,

Dr. Paul LoVerme

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