Munson Health
 
Breastfeeding With Breast Implants: Can You Do It?

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by Low M
breastfeeding and travel image If you are considering breast implants, there may be many questions swirling in your head. There are the immediate concerns, and then there are the concerns that may affect future decisions. Will I be able to breastfeed? Will my breast milk be safe for my baby?
Researchers still debate whether breast implants can affect nursing. There are many studies that have looked at factors that may affect a woman’s success at breastfeeding. Some of these factors are type of surgery and implant.
 

Type of Surgery

One aspect of successful breastfeeding is having enough breast milk for your baby. Not being able to make breast milk will limit breastfeeding, regardless of whether you have breast implants. If you are able to make milk after surgery, whether breast milk is available may depend on your surgery and the location of your incisions. There are three main incision sites:
  • Transaxillary—The incision is made under the arm.
  • Inframammary—The incision is made within the breast fold.
  • Periareolar—The incision is made around the nipple.
Of the three incision sites, the periareolar incision leaves the least visible scar. Some studies suggest that women who have a breast implant through this incision have a harder time breastfeeding than women who have axillary or inframammary incisions. This may be because surgery around the nipple involves cutting milk ducts and nerves.
Damaged ducts and nerves can affect the amount and delivery of milk. Nerves are important for breastfeeding because they trigger the brain to make prolactin and oxytocin, two hormones that affect milk production. Damaged ducts will also limit milk delivery.
A study found that women who undergo any breast surgery are three times more likely to have a low milk supply. Women who have surgery around the nipple area are fives times more likely to have a low milk supply compared to women who do not have breast surgery.
The location of the implant may also impact milk production and delivery. Implants placed under the muscle, which may require less cutting of breast tissue, may be less likely to impair these processes.
Some women who have breast implants, although able to breastfeed, choose not to because they are afraid it will affect how their breasts and/or implants will look. However, studies have not shown that breastfeeding affects breast implant appearance.

Type of Implant

 

RESOURCES

American Society of Plastic Surgeons
http://www.plasticsurgery.org

Le Leche League International
http://www.lalecheleague.org

 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Breastfeeding Foundation
http://www.canadianbreastfeedingfoundation.org

The Canadian Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery
http://www.csaps.ca

 

References


5 things to know about breast implants. United States Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/consumerupdates/ucm338144.htm. Updated May 7, 2013. Accessed April 2, 2014.


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Breastfeeding. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated January 21, 2014. Accessed April 2, 2014.


Breast implants. United States Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ProductsandMedicalProcedures/ImplantsandProsthetics/BreastImplants/default.htm. Updated September 17, 2013. Accessed April 2, 2014.


Levine JJ, Ilowite NT. Scleroderma-like esophageal disease in children breast-fed by mothers with silicone breast implants. JAMA. 1994 Jan 19;271(3):213-6.


Lieberman P. Breast surgery likely to cause breastfeeding problems. National Research Center for Women and Families website. Available at: http://www.center4research.org/2010/05/breast-surgery-likely-to-cause-breastfeeding-problems/. Updated April 2010. Accessed April 2, 2014.


Neifert M, DeMarzo S, Seacat J, et al. The influence of breast surgery, breast appearance, and pregnancy-induced breast changes on lactation sufficiency as measured by infant weight gain. Birth. 1990;17:31-38.


Serious illnesses and breastfeeding. American Academy of Pediatrics Healthy Children website. Available at: http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/breastfeeding/Pages/Serious-Illnesses-and-Breastfeeding.aspx. Updated May 11, 2013. Accessed April 2, 2014.


Silicon, silicone, and breast implants. Pediatrics. 2002 Nov 5; 110(5):1030.


Strom SS, Baldwin BJ, Sigurdson AJ, Schusterman MA. Cosmetic saline breast implants: a survey of satisfaction, breast-feeding experience, cancer screening, and health. Plast Reconstr Surg. 1997 Nov;100(6):1553-7.

 

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