Because the majority of my new york city breast implant patients are young women of childbearing age, the issue of breast implants and breastfeeding is an important one. I am routinely asked if the presence of breast implants affects the ability to breastfeed. While many people think that they do, the answer is “No.” Breastfeeding with breast implants also does not place the baby at any risk.
In general breast implants have no impact on a woman’s ability to breast feed. The exception is when breast implants are part of a larger breast procedure such as a breast lift and breast implants, or breast reconstruction. These complex surgeries often require relocating the nipple, which can disrupt the milk ducts and limit the ability to breastfeed. But, straightforward breast augmentation (regardless of the location of the implant or the placement of the incision) does not interfere with the ability to produce milk or transport milk through the milk ducts.
Rupture of a breast implant is rare, but does happen. The leaking of saline (salt-water) or silicone will not contaminate the breast milk and harm the baby. Also, breastfeeding does not increase the risk for implant rupture.
It is true that there are women out there who have had breast implants placed and now find themselves unable to breastfeed. Most likely the women would have had difficulty breastfeeding, regardless of the breast implants. Women with small breasts may have difficulty producing enough milk to successfully breastfeed. Many women who choose to have breast augmentation do so because they have small breasts and desire an increase in breast volume. Therefore, there is a statistical increase in the number of women with breast implants who report difficulty breastfeeding – but as described above, this is unrelated to the implants.
As with everything, there are a few exceptions. If your breast augmentation surgery damaged the nerves of the nipple and areola, your ability to breast feed may be compromised. This is because nipple sensation is required to stimulate milk release.
Overall, breast implants surgery, when done correctly by a board certified plastic surgeon in new york city, is extremely safe and should have not interfere with breastfeeding or place you or your child in harms way.