Breast Feeding after Augmentation – What You Need to Know

A common concern amongst women considering breast augmentation is the impact the surgery may have on their ability to breastfeed later in life.

For most women who undergo breast augmentation of one type or another, they will be able to breastfeed when the time comes, and the process will be largely unaffected. But there are always exceptions to the rule, and the impact augmentation will have on your ability to breastfeed will depend on a number of factors, such as the type of augmentation, your surgeon’s technique and the incision site.

Breast Augmentation with Implants

When performed safely by a specialist surgeon with sufficient experience, augmentation with implants should not have an effect on your ability to produce milk and successfully breastfeed. Implantation does not don’t interrupt the connections between breast glands and the milk ducts that lead to the nipple.

Typically, the biggest risk that surgery can pose to a woman’s ability to breastfeed is concerned with the nipple. If the surgery or its effects disrupt the nerve supply to the nipple and areola, this can impact your breast’s ability to express milk. It also depends on to what degree the surgery disrupted the milk glands and milk ducts – although slowly, nerves have the potential to regrow, and glandular tissue can develop during pregnancy.

Protection of the nerves surrounding the nipple is what makes the incision site so important, and why breast reduction surgery, rather than implants, can often disrupt breastfeeding ability – because the nipple is often moved or repositioned on a small pedicle of breast tissue as part of the reduction procedure. At Avenue Aesthetic Surgery, the technique of breast reduction preferred is one where the nipple is left attached to a large amount of the underlying breast tissue so that most of our patients are able to breast feed successfully.

The position and placement of your implants will also have a large impact. Breast Implants can either be placed underneath the chest muscles or above the muscle, between the muscle and the breast tissue. When implants are placed under the muscle, there is a reduced chance of impacting breast feeding, as this position reduces the likelihood of damage to nerves and milk ducts.

Breast Augmentation with Fat Transfer

If the possibility of disrupting your ability to breastfeed is a chief concern for you, the safest form of augmentation is fat grafting, which is a more natural approach. Here, we use your own fat (extracted from elsewhere on your body), and implant it into the breast in order to enlarge your breast size by 1-2 cup sizes. Fat transfer is our preferred approach to augmentation for various reasons, including our commitment to the safety of our patient – this approach is more natural, and safer for the patient than implanting a foreign implant.

Incision types

Planning the site of your incision is an important aspect of breast implant surgery. There are three main options for incision site in breast surgery, and our commitment to our patient’s safety and peace of mind means we favour the options that create minimal visible scarring, and have the least impact on the appearance and function of your breasts. The incision site is a key option we’ll discuss with you in your consultation ahead of surgery. The most common site for the incision is just above the fold under the breast. This incision gives excellent access to create a pocket behind the pectoral muscle. The scar is usually only 3-4 cm long and usually heals so well as to be barely visible. An alternative is to make the incision in the armpit. This approach avoids a scar on the breasts altogether. The third option, nipple incision, is not favoured by Avenue Aesthetic Surgery, as it can mean a higher likelihood of infection. Avoiding making our incisions near the nipple area also means we are reducing the risk of interfering with your ability to breastfeed, as this incision site has the highest risk of impacting your ability to feed effectively as milk ducts and nerves are divided.

The reality is, some women struggle with breastfeeding, whether they have had surgery or not, and ultimately, you won’t know exactly how your milk supply has been affected by breast augmentation surgery until you’re ready to try to breastfeed. If this is something you are concerned about, don’t hesitate to raise it with your surgeon at your consultation – they’ll be able to provide you with the expert advice and information you need to feel secure and confident in your decisions.

At Avenue Aesthetic Surgery, your peace of mind is our top priority, and as well as taking every precaution to ensure minimal risk of complications, we have also developed a comprehensive patient journey to see that you go into surgery with your questions answered. Contact us to speak to one of our patient advisors or book a consultation with an expert surgeon today.