Many women undergo breast augmentation in their 20s and 30s, before they have a chance to have children. As a result, a number of our patients are interested to know whether this procedure will affect their ability to breastfeed when they do begin to build a family. Dr. Neal Goldberg, our board certified plastic surgeon, explains that breast implants and breast enhancement surgery should not change a woman’s ability to nurse. That being said, there are some important details to know about lactation before making a decision about this operation.
One of the most essential pieces of information you can know is that not all women naturally have the ability to breastfeed. In fact, about 25 percent of women are unable to nurse on their own, regardless of whether they have had any sort of breast surgery. While this can be a difficult experience to deal with, it may be helpful to know this situation is likely not a result of a cosmetic procedure or anything you chose to do. Breast augmentation, and breast implants, should not interfere with your ability to breastfeed. Millions of women have received this operation and then successfully gone on to breastfeed. Certain techniques, however, can help to minimize damage to the milk ducts, and Dr. Goldberg often recommends these for women who know they want to nurse a child in the future.
Dr. Goldberg recommends using either the inframammary incision or the transaxillary incision to insert the breast implants, and to position the implants underneath the pectoralis (chest) muscles. These approaches can reduce the trauma to the milk ducts located near the nipples. Dr. Goldberg can discuss these options with you during your initial consultation.
If you’re considering breast augmentation and still want to be able to breastfeed in the future, you should talk to an experienced plastic surgeon like Dr. Goldberg about your concerns.