Pregnancy and breast feeding is known to change the shape, size, and appearance of women's breasts. Because of this, many women considering breast augmentation are faced with the dilemma of undergoing breast augmentation surgery before having children or waiting until after. Dr. Scott E. Newman offers Manhattan plastic surgery patients the following information on some of the main concerns regarding breast implants before and after pregnancy.
Breast Implants and Breast Feeding
One of the biggest concerns regarding breast augmentation is how the surgery will affect a woman's ability to breastfeed. For most women, the ability to breastfeed is not impaired by breast implants. However, a small percentage of women report difficulties breastfeeding as a result of breast augmentation. Difficulty breastfeeding may be a result of loss of nipple sensation or damage to the milk ducts.
A potential risk of breast augmentation is the numbing of the nipples and areola. In regards to breastfeeding, if the nipple and areola are numb, the mother may not be able to tell if the baby is properly latching on when feeding.
Another possible risk of breast augmentation is damage to the milk ducts. Periareolar incisions, incisions made around the areola, can potentially sever the milk duct, which would impair lactation. However, this is unlikely to occur when a qualified and skilled plastic surgeon, such as Dr. Newman, performs breast augmentation surgery.
Though breast augmentation surgery complications could affect the ability to breastfeed, most women do not experience difficulty as a result of breast implant placement. It should also be noted that the milk from women with breast implants is completely safe for babies. Patients that are considering breast implants before pregnancy and are concerned about breastfeeding may want to consider the following:
- Do not get large breast implants: Large breast implants are more likely to stretch the nerves, causing nipple and areola numbness, which can make breastfeeding more difficult.
- Consider the inframammary approach: Though rare, it is possible for the milk ducts to be damaged when the periareolar approach is performed. As such, some patients may feel more comfortable with the inframammary technique. The inframammary incision is made beneath the breast, in the natural crease where the breast meets the torso.
Breast Appearance after Pregnancy
Pregnancy and breastfeeding will change the appearance of the breasts. The breasts may sag after pregnancy and lactation, changing the results of a prior breast augmentation. When trying to decide if breast augmentation should be done before or after pregnancy, it is important for patients to consider when they plan to have children and to understand how the breasts will change after pregnancy. Patients that don't plan on having children for five to ten years may want to go ahead with breast augmentation surgery with the understanding that the breasts may require revision after pregnancy. Patients that plan on having children within the next couple years may want to wait until after pregnancy.