Breastfeeding with or without implants is difficult for half of the female population. Patients who have proven they can successfully breastfeed, undergo breast augmentation, and then become pregnant and attempt breastfeeding again have reported continued success. In some cases, there is a decrease in the amount of breast milk produced, probably because of back-pressure on the milk glands which limits engorgement.
Most surgeons reassure their patients that breastfeeding is possible after breast augmentation, but success may partially depend on the surgical technique. Incisions through the armpit or under the breast fold avoid damaging the milk ducts while the popular peri-areolar incision cuts into that tissue and may cause compromise. Also, implants placed behind the pectoral muscles are completely shielded from the milk-producing part of the breast, while implants placed above the muscle come into direct contact with the milk glands.
Ten percent of patients will experience either an increase or a decrease in nipple sensation after breast augmentation. These changes may adversely affect breastfeeding as a mother’s breast responds to her baby’s suckling and bonding efforts.
Patients should consider future parenting goals prior to breast augmentation and discuss them with a plastic surgeon to determine the best approach.