Several of my Palo Alto patients look to me as a plastic surgeon for answers about breastfeeding and breast implants. It’s always a relief for my patients when I inform them that breast implants usually do not disrupt a woman’s ability to breastfeed. In fact, most are able to breastfeed normally. If you are curious about your chances of breastfeeding with implants, here’s what you need to know:
Research has not shown breast implants to cause any harm to breastfeeding infants. A common myth is that implants create a threat of milk contamination to your newborn. The truth is that breast implants do not pose a health risk to your baby. Even implants that leak saline or silicone are still not considered a serious threat (see below).
- If silicone were to migrate outside of the implant, the levels that would be present in breast milk are smaller than commercial formula or cow’s milk. A study from the Breastfeeding Clinic at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto found higher levels of silicone in cow’s milk and infant formulas than in the milk of lactating women with silicone breast implants. Silicone implants today are made of a cohesive, durable gel that is much less prone to leaking.
- Your chances of successful breastfeeding are better if you have implants placed through the breast crease or remotely (through the armpit or belly button). Implants that are placed remotely or through the breast crease bypass the milk ducts and therefore pose less threat to breastfeeding. Placing the implants through the areola can create a problem in some women if the milk ducts are compromised during surgery. However, most surgeons are usually very careful to avoid damaging the milk ducts, even with an areola incision.