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Will Breastfeeding Affect My Breast Implants?

Mummy Makeover |  Dr Eddy Dona

Tue 1st Mar 2022

 

It’s no secret that pregnancy takes a toll on your body. If you’re one of the 20,000 Australian women planning to undergo breast augmentation this year, then you’re probably wondering whether pregnancy and breastfeeding post-operation is possible. Despite what many women may assume, the answer is yes – it is certainly possible.

Waiting until after you have finished having children to have a breast augmentation, breast lift or breast reduction surgery, is often the best way to avoid further adjustments or revision procedures, as your breast tissue will inevitably be affected by breastfeeding and pregnancy. But ultimately, there is no way to tell for certain exactly how pregnancy will impact your implants.

What effects do pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding have on breast implants?

Throughout pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding, your breasts have probably swelled, stretched and seeped more times than you want to think about. Even after you’ve given birth or finished weaning, you may notice that your breasts look different than before, including size, shape and appearance. These changes are most noticeable after breastfeeding ceases, but does that mean breastfeeding is solely to blame? Not exactly.

Your breasts begin to change very early in pregnancy. Your breasts will continue to change throughout your pregnancy due to surging hormones, especially estrogen and progesterone. In the beginning, your breasts will swell in preparation for milk production and continue to remain engorged throughout breastfeeding. When the nursing period ends, the breasts typically shrink to their near-original size. However, the breasts may then appear to be deflated, stretched and sagging as the skin loses its elasticity and may struggle to contract completely around your smaller breasts.

Does pregnancy or breastfeeding affect breast implants?

Pregnancy and breastfeeding do not affect the integrity of implants themselves but they may affect the breasts cosmetic appearance. Breast augmentation offers women perkier and fuller breasts. However, your breasts may appear deflated due to the loss of skin elasticity associated with pregnancy and breastfeeding. The size of your breast implants, the size of your breasts before surgery, and the extent of weight gained will also affect the outcome of your implants after pregnancy and breastfeeding. In this situation, you may wish to have further surgery to restore the size, shape and appearance.

Can you breastfeed with implants?

Most women can breastfeed easily with implants. During breast augmentation surgery, whether the implants go under or over the muscle, they do not interfere with the breast ducts or mammary glands from which milk is excreted. Hence, it does not affect your milk quality or ability to breastfeed. While it is possible to breastfeed after a breast lift and breast reduction, your ability to produce milk may be compromised. A breast reduction is more invasive than a breast lift as it removes significant amounts of glandular tissue. Many breast lift and breast reduction surgery patients are able to breastfeed without any issues, but there is an increased risk that breastfeeding may be impacted.

Is it safe to breastfeed with implants?

Absolutely. There is no evidence proving that implants pose a greater risk to the child or breastfeeding mother during nursing with both an intact or a ruptured implant.

It is very unlikely that your baby will be able to bite, tear or damage your implants while nursing and the pressure from your enlarged breasts typically will not cause them to rupture or burst.

If your implants were to burst during breastfeeding, there is no evidence of toxicity associated with silicone gel implants. The gel in a silicone implant is highly cohesive and form-stable. That means that if it were to tear or burst, the silicone gel would clump together, like a gummy bear, instead of invading the body. Therefore, your breast milk would remain unaffected when nursing.

There is one concern though. Women who have undergone breast augmentation should be extra careful about the breast infection, mastitis, which is an acute inflammatory condition commonly experienced in breastfeeding mothers. Mastitis increases your risk for capsular contracture, which occurs when scar tissue tightens excessively around the implant. This can be very painful and, in severe cases, will require your implants to be removed. While you may be feeling uncomfortable, mastitis and capsular contracture exclusively affects your implants and certainly won’t affect your baby’s health.

Should you wait until you’re done having children to get implants?

There is no way to tell for certain exactly how pregnancy will impact your implants. Therefore, in consultation with your surgeon, you should be evaluating the risks and possibilities of each choice.

If you do not have breast implants yet and are considering becoming pregnant soon, then it would be advised to wait until after childbirth to undergo breast implant surgery. This reduces the risk of having to undergo further surgeries to achieve your aesthetic goals.

If you are pregnant and already have implants, there are no medical concerns that should worry you. As pregnancy has no effect on the integrity of the implants, you can focus on having a safe and healthy pregnancy before correcting the potential aesthetic issues that may arise. Just be prepared for the possibility of further or corrective surgery to restore your breasts – and the additional costs associated with this.

Post-pregnancy Plastic Surgery

For many women, pregnancy and breastfeeding take a heavy toll on the body. From the enlargement followed by the cruel shrinkage of the breasts, the loss of elasticity and overstretching of the skin, to varicose veins and abdominal walls that have been separated or severely damaged. It is unbelievable what the body endures to bring life into the world. The ‘Mummy Makeover’ is a post-pregnancy surgical procedure that intends to restore and rejuvenate the body after childbirth.

The ‘Mummy Makeover’ is an umbrella term for a combination of procedures, which are typically performed during the same operation. There is no set combination of surgical procedures as it is generally tailored to your aesthetic preferences. The tummy tuck and breast surgery (including breast augmentation, reduction and/or lift) are the most commonly combined procedures.

If you have finished having children and are concerned about your post-pregnancy body, then a mummy makeover procedure might be the boost of confidence you’re looking for.

In Summary

From essentially carrying around a bowling ball pressing against your internal organs, to the intense weight fluctuations, overstretched skin, engorged then deflated breasts – pregnancy, breastfeeding and weaning can be cruel to a woman’s body. These dramatic changes often leave women wondering, ‘Will having children ruin my breast implants’? The simple answer is maybe. It depends on what you define by ruin.

Having breast implants is unlikely to compromise the health of you or your baby. After three decades of research, there is no evidence that implants cause medical complications associated with pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, becoming pregnant after having breast augmentation may compromise the results achieved through your initial surgery. You should just be prepared for the possibility of further or corrective surgery to restore your breasts afterwards.

If you would like to know more information about how pregnancy, breastfeeding and weaning may affect your implants, schedule an appointment with Dr Dona, by calling our clinic on 1300 373 662 or emailing [email protected]

Learn More About; Breast Implants

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  3. Saline vs Silicone Breast Implants