Myth #1: Breastfeeding is Impossible After Getting Breast Enhancement Surgery
Unfortunately, there’s a common misconception that breast augmentation automatically eliminates a woman’s ability to breastfeed. Thankfully, this isn’t true for most women.
In actuality, the majority of breast enhancement surgeries do not result in any negative results, let alone lasting complications that affect lactation or the ability to breastfeed. In fact, the CDC’s official stance on how breast enhancement surgery and breastfeeding are related is that there is “insufficient evidence…to classify silicone implants as a contraindication to breastfeeding.”
This myth probably exists due to a lack of information about how breast implant procedures are performed, along with general preconceived, old-fashioned, and unfounded judgments about plastic surgery.
Some statistics report that women who undergo breast surgery are three times more likely to experience insufficient lactation. However, these reports often leave out that this “threefold” refers to 22 out of 319 women, of whom only 5 received breast augmentation. Not only is the report misleading as a whole, but it is far too small a group to represent the huge number of women who opt for breast augmentation every year.
Fact #1: Different Breast Surgery Techniques Can Affect Breastfeeding Potential Differently
When it comes to breast surgery and how it affects one’s ability to produce milk, it’s all about the incision and where the implant is placed. The majority of incisions for implant placement are made in the crease of the breast, where the implant can be placed behind the pectoral muscle. With this method, there is no interference or damage to the milk ducts, and therefore, lactation.
In some instances, though, the incision is made around the areola—often for cosmetic reasons—or the implant is placed on top of the pectoral muscle. In some rare instances, these methods of a breast augmentation procedure can affect multiple parts of the breast and may inhibit a woman’s ability to breastfeed. These methods can potentially disrupt or damage nerves that upset the breast’s ability to produce adequate breast milk.
Luckily, though, most surgeons don’t perform breast enhancement procedures in this manner, except when requested. Discussing your concerns about breastfeeding with your surgeon will help ensure that you have your enhancement done in a way that keeps your functional breast systems intact.
Myth #2: Breastfeeding Can Ruin the Way a Breast Augmentation Looks
Pregnancy and lactation absolutely affect the way the breasts look, as these natural processes can cause breasts to appear larger and heavier, and as a result, potentially start to sag once hormone levels return to normal. However, there is no conclusive evidence to support the idea that breastfeeding will affect the way your breast implants look.
Breast implants are typically made of either silicone or saline. Neither substance can be affected by the production or presence of breast milk. Therefore, augmented breasts will keep their shape whether you are breastfeeding or not. It is important to realize, however, that the surrounding tissue will still change.
Fact #2: Breast Shape and Condition Prior to Surgery Can Affect Lactation
Whether one decides to get breast augmentation or not, there are a variety of other factors that can affect someone’s ability to lactate normally. Women whose breasts never fully developed prior to breast augmentation may experience difficulty breastfeeding regardless of whether or not they have had breast surgery.
Typical breast development doesn’t only affect the shape of the breasts, but also things like hormones that contribute to breast milk production.
Myth #3: Breastfeeding With Implants Is Dangerous for the Baby
It’s natural to want what’s best for your little one and to be concerned about causing them harm. Many women are concerned about the safety of breastfeeding with implants, particularly silicone implants.
According to the FDA, studies haven’t found any risk to babies who are breastfed by mothers who have implants. One study that measured silicone levels in breast milk didn’t find a detectable difference in the levels of silicone in women who had implants and women who didn’t.