Breastfeeding after Implants
“Can I breastfeed after implants and breast augmentation?” At the St. Louis practice of West County Plastic Surgeons, this is one of the most common questions we hear from women who are interested in breast augmentation, also known as augmentation mammoplasty, but who also wish to have children. In general, these patients seek reassurance that breastfeeding will be possible after implants, and typically, that reassurance is easy to give. Breastfeeding definitely is possible after implants, but no woman—implants or not—is guaranteed a successful breastfeeding experience. That said, certain techniques and approaches to breast augmentation surgery can affect a woman’s ability to breastfeed after implants, so it is important to choose an experienced and highly skilled plastic surgeon to perform this procedure.
At West County Plastic Surgeons, board-certified plastic surgeons Drs. Terry Myckatyn and Marissa Tenenbaum have performed numerous breast augmentation surgeries on patients who have successfully breastfed their children after implants. We understand that, for many women, breastfeeding is an essential part of being a mother, nurturing her newborn baby, and forming a strong, lasting bond with her child. For that reason, we go to great lengths to ensure that her implants do not interfere with the important and special experience of breastfeeding her child.
Breastfeeding and Breast Augmentation: Considerations for St. Louis Patients
The following factors help determine whether patients can successfully breastfeed after implants:
- Incision Location: A periareolar incision, along the outer edge of the nipple, can occasionally damage nerve endings and milk ducts, so if a woman is interested in breastfeeding after this procedure, we would typically advise her to choose a different incision placement: either the inframammary (along the breast crease) or transaxillary (in the armpit) incision. These types of incisions do not impact milk ducts or nipple function.
- Implant Placement: Implant placement can also affect a woman’s ability to breastfeed after implants, though to a lesser degree. Implants placed over the chest muscle instead of under it are more likely to interfere with the breast glands necessary for milk production. For this reason, we recommend a submuscular placement for any woman who is interested in breastfeeding an infant following her procedure.
- Surgery Timing: Timing of surgery varies from patient to patient, depending on many factors. Women who are years from motherhood can undergo breast augmentation without concern. However, we sometimes recommend that women who are close to motherhood wait until they are finished having children before undergoing breast augmentation. Why? Breasts change significantly during pregnancy, often leading to ptosis, or sagging, so for optimal results, some women may eventually need a breast lift, or maxtopexy surgery, in addition to breast augmentation.
Breastfeeding Safety: Saline or Silicone Implants?
Another common question we hear from prospective patients involves the safety of implants during breastfeeding. In other words, women want to know whether the saline or silicone material might leak into their breast milk and put their child at risk. Studies show no documented risks to breastfed infants; in fact, all evidence suggests that the saline or silicone material does not pass into the breast milk.
If you have more questions about breastfeeding and implants, schedule your consultation at the office of West County Plastic Surgeons. We would be happy to speak with you about your concerns. To schedule your visit, phone (314) 996-8800, request your appointment online, or email us today!