Breastfeeding with Breast Implants: What You Need to Know

If you have breast implants or are considering breast augmentation, you may wonder how it can affect your ability to breastfeed. The following provides some answers to common questions many women have regarding breastfeeding with implants.

  1. Implant Placement: The placement of breast implants can affect breastfeeding. Implants can be inserted either above the chest muscle (subglandular placement) or beneath it (submuscular placement). Studies have shown that submuscular placement is generally associated with a lower risk of breastfeeding difficulties, as the implants are less likely to interfere with milk production and flow.
  1. Incision Location: The location of the incision can also impact breastfeeding. The most common incision sites include inframammary (under the breast), periareolar (around the areola), and transaxillary (in the armpit). Research suggests that periareolar incisions may slightly increase the risk of breastfeeding difficulties due to potential damage to the milk ducts and nerves in the areola.
  1. Milk Production: While breast implants themselves do not usually impact milk production, there is a small risk of damage to milk ducts or glands during surgery. However, most women with breast implants can produce an adequate milk supply for their babies. It is important to remember that each individual’s breastfeeding experience may vary.
  1. Pre-existing Challenges: Breast surgery can sometimes contribute to pre-existing breastfeeding challenges. Conditions such as insufficient glandular tissue (IGT) or inverted nipples may exist before surgery and can affect breastfeeding regardless of implants.
  1. Monitoring Breast Health: Regular breast self-examinations are important for all women, including those with breast implants. Look for any changes in breast shape, size, or texture, and promptly report any concerns to your plastic surgeon or primary healthcare provider. While rare, implant-related complications such as capsular contracture could impact breastfeeding or require medical intervention.
  1. Open Communication with Plastic Surgeon: During your breast augmentation consultation, discuss your desire to breastfeed with your plastic surgeon. They can provide your with guidance on implant placement and incision options. Furthermore, you can also collaborate with a lactation consultant or other knowledgeable healthcare professional during your breastfeeding journey for additional support.

Choosing a plastic surgeon who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) is a good way to ensure a successful and safe breast augmentation procedure. By choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon, you’re minimizing risks, making informed choices, and increasing your chances of achieving the desired results. To see if your plastic surgeon is board-certified, visit the American Board of Plastic Surgery website.

Content written by Andrew Proulx, MD | Reviewed by Charlie Chen, MD | Last updated 6/25/2023