What are the challenges of breastfeeding after implants?

Occasionally, during a breast augmentation consultation with me in our Stony Brook plastic surgery practice, a woman expresses concerns about her ability to breastfeed later on, should she wish to do so. With so many women committed to breastfeeding their infants, I want to be certain you have the facts about breast enhancements and future nursing.

Successful breastfeeding, with or without implants, is based on the ability of the breast to create milk, the ducts to carry that milk to the nipple and, lastly, the nipple to release milk to the child. That said, my personal belief is that there is potentially (although not necessarily) more risk of interference with the ducts that carry the milk from the breast gland to the nipple with a nipple incision, areolar revision, etc., than with breast implants. As I personally prefer placing the implant under the muscle, interference with breastfeeding has not been a concern at all for my patients. I cannot think of a single instance in my career when a woman told me after breast augmentation surgery that she was no longer able to breast feed, whereas she had successfully done so prior to surgery. Even in patients who have had placement of the implant above the muscle, theoretically there should be no interference with the ability of the milk to pass from deep within the breast through the ducts to the nipples.

However, in my experience with women coming in for breast reduction, I’ve seen women who said they had been unable to breast feed. Whether this is size related is unknown, but this was not due to an implant.

If you have questions about breast enhancements, be sure to call our office for information.

To your health and beauty,
Dr. Mark Epstein

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