When women visit me at my Indianapolis plastic surgery for a private consultation about breast implants, they sometimes ask me whether or not they will be able to breastfeed if, in the future, they have children. Before I get to the details, here are some basics. First of all, whether or not she has had implants, not every woman successfully breastfeeds. Secondly, implants themselves don’t affect breastfeeding. However, what can affect breastfeeding is nicking or damaging either the nerves and/or the milk ducts in the breasts when making the incision to insert the implant(s).
There are 3 customary locations for a breast implant incision: (A) under the armpit (called a transaxillary incision) (B) under the fold of the breast (called the inframammary fold); or (C) through an incision around the areola. Incisions made under the armpit or the breast generally pose no concern about breastfeeding because they aren’t made near the milk ducts or nerves. An incision around the areola, per se, doesn’t create a problem either, unless the milk ducts or the nerves are damaged or severed when making the incision.
Here’s why: the nerves close to the areola trigger the brain to produce two hormones: oxytocin and prolactin. If the nerves are damaged, the brain may not receive the “signal” to make milk, or perhaps will make milk, but not much. Obviously, if the milk ducts are damaged, milk might be produced but not deliverable to the breast. Women who haven’t yet had children often feel better if we agree on an inframammary fold or transaxillary incision, so they don’t have to worry about any potentially negative consequences. If you haven’t had children yet and are considering implants, be sure that you discuss these issues with me at your consultation in my office, to make sure both of us are in complete agreement about the location of your incisions.
So, the bottom line is that breast implants should not affect the ability to breastfeed or produce milk so long as the incision doesn’t nick or damage the nerves or milk ducts. Another reason to choose a plastic surgeon with a great deal of experience!
To your health & beauty,