August is National Breastfeeding Month. Whether you personally have breastfed, or are considering breastfeeding, this month is very important to raise awareness about many aspects of breastfeeding.
Many women may decide throughout their life to undergo cosmetic breast surgery. These surgeries may include, breast reduction, breast lift or breast augmentation, possibly using silicone or saline implants. With that being said, many women will also choose to breastfeed their infant and may wonder, can you breastfeed after having cosmetic breast surgery? The simple answer is yes, many patients are able to breastfeed successfully after cosmetic breast surgery, but each case is different.
One of the most common cosmetic breast surgeries are breast augmentations. The term breast augmentation is the process of enhancing your breast size using either a silicone gel or saline implant.
The implants are placed between your chest wall and your breast, so your milk ducts will typically be left unaffected.2 An implant placed directly under the glandular tissue (part of the breast that makes milk) or “above the muscle” is more likely to cause pressure on the glandular tissue and potentially lead to reduced milk production, compared to an implant positioned under the chest muscle. With all breast surgeries, there is a risk of damage to the nerves in the breast which may result in lower milk production. However, choosing an experienced surgeon can help to minimize the potential risk of any difficulties breastfeeding after a breast augmentation. Regarding the implants themselves, there is no research supporting the fact that nursing your baby with breast implants poses a threat to your baby or the results of your surgery. Many of our breast augmentation patients end up breast feeding their infants without any difficulties.
A breast reduction procedure involves removing excess breast tissue and skin to decrease the size of your breasts.
In most cases, not enough tissue is removed to affect your milk production or the process of breastfeeding your newborn. Your ability to breastfeed could be affected if a certain nerve is severed during the procedure.2 Incisions made around the areola may increase the chance for disruption while breastfeeding. In some instances, breast reduction surgery may affect your supply of milk, requiring additional formula for your baby (in addition to your breast milk).1 Of course, always speak to your pediatrician to determine if you are supplying enough milk for sufficient development, or if additional formula is recommended.
Advances in surgical techniques allow surgeons to protect portions of the breast involved in milk production. If you have future plans of breastfeeding, it is important to discuss this with your surgeon prior to your breast reduction surgery so they can provide you with the best outcome possible.
A Breast Lift involves removing extra skin and moving the nipple and areola up to a higher position on the breast. The whole breast is tightened and moved higher on the chest wall. The incisions are very similar to those of a breast reduction, and there are similar risks. Sometimes a breast lift is performed in conjunction with the placement of a breast implant. The risks of a breast lift affecting breast feeding is probably lower than that from a breast reduction since you are not removing any of the breast tissue in most cases.
Breastfeeding is a beautiful process that is strongly encouraged for new mothers, even if they have had cosmetic breast surgery. Typically, these procedures should not affect the ability to nurse your baby. If you are interested in cosmetic breast surgery, visit our website or call us at 833-611-3794 to schedule your consultation today!
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, February 1). Breast Surgery. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/breastfeeding-special-circumstances/maternal-or-infant-illnesses/breast-surgery.html.
- Rosson, G. D., & Rosenblum, N. (n.d.). Think You Can’t Breastfeed After Implants? Think Again. Johns Hopkins Medicine. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/think-you-cant-breastfeed-after-implants-think-again.