Is Breastfeeding with Implants Possible and Safe?

close up of breasts in gray bra

breast with gray braBreast augmentation ranks among the most popular plastic surgeries in the United States, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Yet many women who get breast implants and also plan to be mothers are concerned that the procedure may interfere with their ability to breastfeed – one of the many joys of motherhood.

Is it safe for a baby to feed from breasts with implants? Will there be enough milk for the newborn? Are there any health risks involved? These are some of the common questions asked of New York plastic surgeon Dr. Aviva Preminger, who explains the possible risks of breastfeeding after augmentation  and other breast surgeries.

Can you breastfeed with implants?

Numerous studies have shown that breast implants – whether silicone or saline – rarely affect the mother’s ability to breastfeed after childbirth. However, the incision placement may have some influence on this success. Incisions that are placed under the fold of the breast or within the creases of the armpit are associated with fewer difficulties, while circular incisions around the nipples may slightly increase risk of breastfeeding problems. Another factor your surgeon will consider is placing the implant beneath the chest muscles, rather than on top, which also promotes better chances of mammary gland production.

While areola incisions may be more subtle and cosmetically pleasing in breast implant procedures, this sensitive area is also where milk ducts convene. Surgeons who are not careful could accidentally cut a nerve or milk duct during the procedure, thus decreasing the patient’s chances of breastfeeding.

Can implants leak into the breast milk?

Another concern voiced by mothers-to-be is the risk of contaminated breast milk from a leaked implant. Since being re-introduced to the market, silicone implants are now made with a viscous, cohesive gel that does not leak in the event of a rupture. Thus, parents do not need to worry that the child will be at risk of drinking breast milk laden with silicone.

The bottom line is that any type of breast surgery, whether an augmentation, reduction or asymmetry correction, poses some risk of damage to the milk ducts and nerves that may hamper normal lactation. This risk, however, is highly unlikely when performed by a skilled breast implant surgeon.

Prospective patients should always discuss the pros and cons of breast implants in the context of nursing with their doctors first. In some cases, it may be advisable to postpone surgery until after you’ve finished breastfeeding your last child. This may also be advantageous since the breasts are more prone to sagging after breastfeeding, which could negate the positive effects of the surgery.

Breast implants in New York City

Experienced cosmetic surgeons are trained to avoid any damage to the milk glands during surgery, thus avoiding problems down the line. Many patients also decide to wait until they’re done having children and then opting for a full “Mommy Makeover” to perk up drooping breasts, erase stretch marks and whittle their waist line.

If you’d like more information about breast implants in New York City from Dr. Preminger, you can request a private consultation using the online form, or call (212) 706-1900.