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Women who visit our NYC & Long Island plastic surgery practices for a breast augmentation consultation often ask us whether or not breast implants might make it difficult, or even impossible, to breastfeed their children.

Here are some basics:

  • Not every woman can successfully breastfeed, whether she has implants or not
  • In and of themselves, breast implants do not interfere with breastfeeding
  • What can affect breastfeeding, however, is the location of the incision placed to insert the breast implant(s).

If the incision is made under the fold of the breast (called the inframammary fold) or through an incision under the armpit (called a transaxillary incision) there should not be any trouble breastfeeding, at least not trouble from the incisions.

However, if the implant is inserted through an incision around the areola, it’s possible that, if the nerves or milk ducts are severed or damaged, breastfeeding could be difficult or even impossible.

That’s because the nerves near the areola control the hormones oxytocin and prolactin, which trigger the brain to produce milk. If those nerves are damaged, the “signal” to the brain may not work correctly; hence, no milk or too little milk would be produced.

We advise patients who have not yet had children to avoid the areolar incision and opt for the inframammary fold or the transaxillary incision, so as not to raise the risks of affecting future breastfeeding.

It should be noted that nursing moms can develop an infection in the nipples due to dryness and cracking, or they may develop mastitis. These infections can spread to the pocket within the breast that “houses” the implant thereby infecting that pocket. This can lead to implant problems and perhaps even a need to remove the implants.

If you have not yet completed your family, we suggest that you discuss these issues with us at your consultation, to make sure we are in complete agreement about the location of your incisions and to fully explain all risks for complications with breast implants.

Last, breastfeeding often causes the breasts to droop. An implant won’t prevent that drooping. After nursing, a breast lift might be needed to lift the breasts back to their perkier position. This procedure can be performed alone or in combination with a Mommy Makeover, which also addresses abdominal sagging and stretch marks.

As an aside, in terms of any concerns about silicone leaking from breast implants, there is no evidence that silicone could leak into breast milk. Again, speak with our surgeons for more information about potential risks of having breast implants while breastfeeding.

Bottom line: breast implants usually do not affect the ability to breastfeed or produce milk.

To your health & beauty,

The Advanced Cosmetic Surgery Team


*This page does not communicate the full list of complete risks and potential complications from this surgery. To receive a list of post-op risks & complications, please contact our office.