Breast surgeries perennially rank among the top cosmetic surgeries in the United States — nearly 600,000 augmentations, lifts, and reductions were performed in 2018 alone. While cosmetics are the primary goal for these surgeries, many women are concerned about how these procedures may affect function, primarily when it comes to breastfeeding.
At Cosmetic Surgery Center, both Dr. Trent Fogleman and Dr. Paul Benien Jr. have extensive experience helping our patients achieve their cosmetic goals, all while preserving function. And when it comes to breast surgery, our surgeons make every effort to help women have the best of both worlds.
Here’s a look at whether previous breast surgery may interfere with breastfeeding.
Since breast augmentation is the most popular procedure overall, let’s start with the effect that breast implants have on your ability to breastfeed.
The good news here is that breast implants typically don’t interfere with breastfeeding since we aren’t working on your nipples in most cases. With most implants, we make very small incisions through which we place the implants and we make every effort not to disturb your nerves or milk ducts.
For most surgeries, we make incisions in the inframammary fold below your breasts and place the implant behind your pectoral muscles. What this means is that we aren’t affecting anything inside your breast.
In less common cases, if we’re placing your breast implants through incisions around your areola and/or we’re positioning them above your muscle, this may have some effect on your ability to lactate (more on this below).
If we use saline implants, the threat of leaking into your breast milk isn’t usually cause for concern. If you opt for silicone implants, there’s little threat of these leaching into your milk.
If you’ve had a breast lift or a breast reduction, these two procedures have more potential for interfering with your ability to breastfeed. The primary reason behind this is that we usually have to detach or move your areola, which can sever some of the nerve connections to your breast, as well as the ducts. We make every effort to retain these connections, including blood supply, but these surgeries can lead to a reduction in your milk production.
This doesn’t automatically mean that you won’t be able to breastfeed, as many women are able to breastfeed without any problems after a breast lift or reduction. With time, the nerves typically grow back and the ducts often re-establish pathways to the nipple.
One of the keys to successfully changing the shape or position of your breasts through a lift or reduction is to have us perform the procedure after you’re done having children. We recommend this for many reasons outside of breastfeeding, because pregnancy can dramatically change the shape of your breasts. In fact, after pregnancy, a mommy makeover is an ideal solution for your breasts and your tummy.
Ultimately, the best way to explore breast surgery and your future ability to breastfeed is to schedule a consultation at our office in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Simply click here to set up an appointment.