With breast augmentation being one of the most popular cosmetic procedures there is one question frequently posed to plastic surgeons when a woman is considering implants. ‘Can you breastfeed if you have implants?’ The answer to this question is most likely yes, but there are several points one should consider. There has been debate and questions about silicone or saline leaking into milk, incision and placement of implant and decreased milk production affecting the ability to breastfeed.
- Can a saline or silicone implant leak into my milk supply? A common misconception is the potential for an implant to leak and possibly contaminate the breast milk. Over the past 10-15 years, implants have been reformulated and tested and do not present a risk of leaking. Implants are now made of memory or cohesive gel meaning the implants will not leak, the silicone is not free moving and instead, the gel sticks together preventing it from entering the milk supply.
- Can the location of the implant affect the ability to breastfeed? Dr. Stephen Greenberg, a board certified plastic surgeon notes that where the implant is inserted has everything to do with the likelihood of the woman being able to breastfeed in the future. An incision under the breast crease as opposed to a nipple incision is more favorable for breastfeeding. Nipple incisions run the risk of possible damage to milk ducts or nerves around the nipple affecting milk production and making the nipple overly sensitive making breastfeeding difficult. Placement of the implant under the muscle of the chest wall also seems to be more favorable for breastfeeding. The less pressure put on mammary glands by an implant, the better the change of milk production.
It seems that for the majority of mothers who have implants breastfeeding should still be an option. If you are considering implants, it’s important to remember that with any surgery there are always risks. If you really want to breastfeed why not wait until after you have your babies, enjoy the breastfeeding experience, then go for those implants.