Can I Breastfeed If I Have Had Breast Surgery or Implants?

Breastfeeding is a fundamental and highly personal choice that depends on several factors. One crucial question many women ask after undergoing breast surgery or getting implants is, “Can I still breastfeed?” In this article, we will delve into the subject, providing insights based on medical research and expert opinion.

Explore the factors impacting breastfeeding post-breast surgery or with implants. Learn from expert opinions, understand different surgical procedures, and discover tips for successful breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding After Breast Surgery

The ability to breastfeed after breast surgery largely depends on the type of surgery, the surgical technique used, and how it impacted the milk ducts and nerves in the breast.

1. Reduction Mammoplasty (Breast Reduction)

In a breast reduction surgery, some of the milk-producing glandular tissue is often removed, which can impact breastfeeding. However, breastfeeding is not necessarily impossible after such a procedure.

  • Milk Production: Even with some glandular tissue removed, many women can still produce milk after a breast reduction. The amount will depend on the extent of the surgery and how much tissue was preserved.
  • Nipple Sensitivity: The sensitivity of the nipple can also play a role. If the nipple was moved during surgery but the nerves were kept intact, the chances of successful breastfeeding are higher.

Key Takeaway: You might not produce as much milk as someone who hasn’t had a breast reduction, but breastfeeding is usually still possible to some extent.

2. Augmentation Mammoplasty (Breast Implants)

Having breast implants does not necessarily mean you cannot breastfeed. The type of implant, where it was placed, and the surgical technique used can all factor into breastfeeding success.

  • Type and Placement of Implant: Implants filled with saline or silicone don’t typically interfere with breastfeeding. Implants placed under the muscle (submuscular) are less likely to interfere with milk production than those placed over the muscle (subglandular).
  • Incision Location: Incisions made in the armpit or under the fold of the breast are less likely to interfere with breastfeeding than incisions around or across the areola, which can damage milk ducts or nerves.
  • Capsular Contracture: This is a complication of breast implant surgery, where the scar tissue around the implant tightens, which can put pressure on the milk ducts.

Key Takeaway: Many women with breast implants can breastfeed successfully, but it’s important to discuss your breastfeeding plans with your surgeon before the operation.

Expert Opinions on Breastfeeding Post-Surgery

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, most women can breastfeed after undergoing breast surgery, but there might be challenges. If you’ve had breast surgery and are struggling to breastfeed, consider reaching out to a lactation consultant for personalized advice.

“Breast surgery can potentially impact breastfeeding, but many women can successfully breastfeed after these procedures.”American Society of Plastic Surgeons

Considerations and Tips for Successful Breastfeeding Post-Surgery

Here are some tips to consider for successful breastfeeding after breast surgery:

  • Consult with your surgeon: Discuss your future breastfeeding plans before the surgery so that the surgeon can take steps to minimize damage to essential breastfeeding structures.
  • Reach out to a lactation consultant: A lactation consultant can provide personalized strategies to optimize milk production and breastfeeding techniques.
  • Consider supplemental feeding methods: In case your milk supply is affected, be open to the idea of supplementing breastfeeding with formula feeding.
  • Monitor your baby’s weight: Regular weight checks can help ensure your baby is getting enough nutrition.
  • Be patient: Remember, breastfeeding can be a challenging process even for women who haven’t had breast surgery. Give yourself grace and time to adjust.

Breastfeeding after breast surgery or implants is a complex topic that depends on individual circumstances. While some women may face challenges, many can successfully breastfeed after these procedures. It’s always important to discuss your plans with your healthcare provider or a lactation consultant. If breastfeeding is a priority for you, make sure your surgeon is aware of this before your procedure. Ultimately, remember that the decision to breastfeed is a personal one, and what matters most is that your baby is nourished and loved.


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