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Can You Breastfeed with Implants?

Breast augmentation is a common procedure among women across the country. With the growing number of breast augmentation procedures each year, more and more women are searching for information about breastfeeding. One common question is whether they can breastfeed with implants. Here is what you need to know about breastfeeding with implants.

Yes, it is possible to breastfeed with implants but breast implants can affect a mother’s capacity to produce a full milk supply. Whether a mother will have a full or only a partial milk supply depends on a few factors:

  • Type of surgery
  • If there is scarring on the milk ducts
  • How much functional glandular tissue is present both before and after the procedure

As long as your breasts contain functioning breast tissue before the surgery, and the operation does not include an incision around the areola, you should still be able to make breast milk.

Location of the incision

Depending on where the incision is made to place the implant, will determine the amount of damage to milk glands, ducts, nerves or blood supply. If an incision is made around the edge of the nipple and areola, this can affect nipple sensation and cut the nerve that triggers the neurohormonal reflex needed for making and releasing breast milk.

The position of the implant

Where the implant is placed and the size of the implant will affect the pressure within the breast. The breast is composed of glandular (milk making) tissue above a layer of muscle. If the implant is placed between the glandular tissue and the muscle layer, it is said to be more likely to exert pressure on the ducts and glands which may interfere with milk flow and reduce milk production. On the other hand, when the implant is placed beneath the muscle layer this is said to have less impact on milk production.

Functional breast tissue

When cosmetic or reconstructive surgery to enlarge a breast is due to abnormal breast development, there may be an underlying absence of functional breast tissue. In this situation, breastfeeding difficulties could be related to this rather than the breast implant surgery, but problems are likely to be compounded by implants.

If you have more questions about breast augmentation and breastfeeding, contact Dr. Bernacki today!