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Will breast implants impede the production of milk or the feeding of a baby?

Q:

Will breast implants impede the production of milk or negatively affect breastfeeding of the baby?

A:

Breast implants should not affect breast feeding or the production of milk.

Edward J. Domanskis, M.D., FACS
Newport Beach, CA

A:

Breast implants are placed beneath the breast gland, and usually also beneath the pectoralis muscle.  When placed through an inframammary (fold) approach or through the axillary (armpit) approach, the implant never really touches the breast tissue - it slides underneath it, so these approaches have the least impact on the gland itself.   The periareolar (around the nipple/areola) approach does require that the dissection goes through breast glandular tissue.  By damaging some breast tissue in this process, it is plausible that some impact on breast milk production could happen.  This doesn't mean that breast feeding couldn't happen - the vast majority of the gland is untouched and the milk ducts that go to the nipple remain undisturbed.  A very large implant in a woman with fairly tight skin, no matter how it is placed, could conceivably diminish breast milk production by the pressure on the overlying breast tissue.

Douglas J. Mackenzie, M.D., FACS
Santa Barbara, CA

A:

Breast augmentation should not have any effect on the quality or composition of milk.  If the implants are placed beneath the pectorals muscle and through an inframammary or transaxillary incision, no effect on breast feeding should be noted. There is a slight chance of disruption of milk flow through a peri-areolar incision if there is undermining of the ductal tissue.

A:

The short answer is maybe. There are a lot of variables to consider.

First, do you know that you can already produce enough milk to successfully breast feed? Have you had prior pregnancies to know the answer to this question? Some women can not breast feed successfully regardless of whether or not they have had an augmentation. It would not be an accurate assumption to blame an augmentation surgery on the inability to breast feed post operatively if you do not know for sure that you were successful at breast feeding prior to the surgery.

Second, an implant can place enough pressure on the breast tissue itself to cause atrophy of the tissue (atrophy is shrinkage/loss/reduction of tissue). The more the breast tissue is stretched by the implant the more tension and pressure endured by the breast tissue. This may lead to tissue atrophy. Whether breast tissue atrophy in of itself can cause problems with breast feeding is not known.  It is hypothetical as we like to say.

Third, if the incision goes through the areola, then there is a higher probability that some of the breast ducts could be damaged as well as breast tissue itself. Going through an inframammary incision (or transaxillary for that matter) reduces the risk to a degree.

Sorry, there is no short answer, but if breast feeding is a major concern, then of all the things to consider, number one would be to avoid the periareolar incisional approach.

Timothy M. Bradley, M.D., FACS - View Other Answers by this Doctor
Fort Walton Beach, FL

A:

Production of breast milk is mediated by hormones (chiefly prolactin) and there is no evidence that breast implants interfere with this process.  There is however evidence that some women (about 10%) who have had breast augmentation and may otherwise have been able to breast feed will not be able to do so. 

Many women who have not had implants or breast augmentation are unable to breast feed, and this number is even higher among augmented women.

A:

The implants themselves will not impede the ability to breast feed.  As best as can be determined, the operation should have minimal effect on the ability to breast feed but does not guarantee that you will be able to breast feed; just the same as without the operation.

John P. Stratis, M.D. - View Other Answers by this Doctor
Harrisburg, PA

A:

From the current literature, breast implants generally do not have any negative impact on breast feeding, in most cases. There may be some issues depending on the surgical technique used and the issues with possible loss of sensation to the nipple.

With regards to surgical technique, if the implant is inserted via an incision through or around the nipple, then there is a possibility that some of the milk-ducts can be disrupted during this procedure. If there is a significant amount of duct disruption, then this may affect breast feeding.

Another point to consider is the very low risk of loss of sensation to the nipple after breast augmentation surgery. Although unusual, when it does happen, this can affect breast feeding since the breast may not feel when the baby has latched. 

Montreal, QC

A:

This is a commonly asked question. I tell my patients that I cannot predict how much, if any, breast milk production a patient can expect with or without breast surgery. I believe that the technique can make a difference though. Some believe that an incision around the areola to place the implant my decrease your ability to breast feed and therefore recommend an incision under the fold of the breast. If you have more complicated surgery such as a breast lift with augmentation, this may also decrease the ability to breast feed. I have met many women who had breast implants prior to having children and they were able to successfully breastfeed.

I hope this helps.

Dr Edwards

A:

No, you should be able to breast feed.

Ralph M. Rosato, MD, FACS - View Other Answers by this Doctor
Vero Beach, FL

A:

No.

Calvin R. Peters, M.D., FACS - View Other Answers by this Doctor
Orlando, FL

A:

No.  The breast is not directly involved with the procedure and is left intact and functional.

James A. Yates, M.D., FACS - View Other Answers by this Doctor
Camp Hill, PA

A:

Implants should not interfere with breast feeding or the production of milk. I am offering a temporary all-inclusive fee of $4999 for breast enlargement surgery-my fee, the MD anesthesiologist, the operating room, and the costs of the implants. Watch my video and see my website(surgery-plastic.com). Dr. Ed Domanskis;Newport Beach,California

Dr. Edward Jonas Domanskis is Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery 1441 Avocado Avenue, Suite 307 Newport Beach, California 92660 949.640-6324/1.888.234-5080(Ca) FAX- 949.640-7347 Website: http://www.surgery-plastic.com Assistant Clinical Professor of SurgeryWOS-Plastic,University of California (Irvine) Orange County’s Physician of Excellence/America’s Top Physicians/Top Doctors  Plastic Surgery- 2005/2006/2007/2008/2009 President,American Society of Bariatric Plastic Surgeons www.ASBPS.org

 

 

 

Edward J. Domanskis, M.D., FACS - View Other Answers by this Doctor
Newport Beach, CA

A:

I would concur with my colleagues that although "anything is possible", it is not likely that a breast augmentation would affect your ability to breast feed.  There are studies in the Obstetrical literature that suggest that post augmentation breast feeding success is lower however.  In addition, it is thought that use of the incision along the nipple may be associated with a higher risk of inability to breast feed in comparison to other incision locations such as those in the breast fold.

A:

Implants do not impede breastfeeding as shown through multiple studies. Both saline and silicone are safe for breastfeeding.

A:

If the implants are placed through the infraMamary Fold, it won't be a problem because the surgeon won"t touch the gland. I prefer to do it that way, and place it under the pectoralis fascia for more implant protection.

A:

Thank you for your question. Breast implants placed through the inframammary crease or through the axilla should not impact your ability to breast feed. However I would avoid having implants placed through an incision in the areola as injury through the ducts may occur.

A:

Some women, who never had breast surgery, are naturally unable to breastfeed, and some variations of breast augmentation may make it more likely that you are unable to breastfeed, but most women with breast augmentations are able to successfully breastfeed. Breast implants pose no medical risk to your baby.

Robert Singer, MD  FACS

La Jolla, California

A:

This is a very good question and is often asked from child bearing women who are considering breast implant surgery.  Breast augmentation surgery will not affect breast feeding.  The implant is not in the breast tissue itself but underneath the muscle or underneath the breast gland.  The incision placement may affect this to a very small extent but not significantly.  The periareolar incision procedure will cut through some breast ducts and cause some degree of scarring.  The infra-mamary incision will avoid the breast completely.  Good luck.

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