Breast Feeding


Consequences of breast feeding with implants


More than two decades of research and studies have proven that breast-feeding has many advantages for the infant.Breast-fed infants have lower rates of hospital admissions, ear infections, diarrhea, rashes, allergies and other medical problems than bottle-fed babies.Also, breast milk has many nutrients which are an added plus.

For these reasons, more and more mothers are turning to breast-feeding as an alternative to bottled milk.However, one concern among women is being able to breast feed their child after a breast implant.Is a mother able to nurse her baby after receiving breast implants?

Most people are successful at breast-feeding after implants, but not all. Some women have experienced some problems with breast-feeding including some loss of sensitivity in their nipples and problems producing enough milk to feed their infants.In a study of 84 new mothers at a Texas hospital, 64% of those with breast implants experienced a lack of milk production, while only 7% of women without implants had this problem.

Perhaps the cause of this stems from the type of surgery the woman receives.Women who had an incision made around their nipple were more likely to have problems producing milk than women who had an incision in the armpit of below the breast according to a study published in the January issue of the Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.An incision is done around the nipple in order to make the scar less noticeable.But when this is done, it most likely disrupts the nerves that trigger hormones to release milk.Also, an incision around the nipple may sever ducts that drain milk from the mammary gland.Thus, even if the mother is able to produce adequate milk, it may be difficult for the milk to drain into the nipple.Eventually, that area of the breast will shut down and stop producing milk.

Another risk in breast implant surgery is trauma to the tissue in the placement process.This may decrease the likelihood of successful breast-feeding.

Currently, most implants are inserted through the armpit, so much of the risks are reduced.Also, the implant itself is separated from the breast by a layer of muscle so it should not interfere with breast-feeding.

In a June 21, 1999 study, the Institute of Medicine of the Academy of Science conducted a two-year investigation on the possible involvement of silicone gel implants in systemic and connective tissue disease.They reported that there is no danger in breast-feeding after implants.Cows milk and infant formulas have a far higher level of silicon, a silicone component, than motherís milk.In terms of risks to the baby, neither silicone nor saline are in the milk, so the baby should not experience any problems due to the implants.

Overall, it appears that breast implants themselves do not have negative consequences in breast-feeding.However, the surgery is the main cause for concern because of the risk of severing milk ducts or disruption of important nerves responsible for triggering milk production.



Back to: