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10 Myths Busted about Breast Augmentation and Breastfeeding

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Myths and Realities about Breast Augmentation and Breastfeeding

Breast augmentation is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures worldwide, offering women the opportunity to enhance their appearance. Yet it is accompanied by many myths and misconceptions, especially when it comes to breastfeeding. In this blog, Consultant Plastic Surgeon Anca Breahna aims to dispel common myths about breast augmentation and breastfeeding, ensuring you have the facts to feel confident in your choices.

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Myth 1: Silicone from implants can leak into breast milk.

This myth has caused considerable anxiety among new and prospective mothers with breast implants. The concern is that silicone, a key component of many breast implants, can leak into breast milk and potentially harm the baby.

The Reality: Numerous studies have investigated this concern, and the findings are reassuring. Research has shown that silicone molecules are too large to pass through the breast tissue into the milk ducts. Consequently, there is no significant risk of silicone leaking into breast milk and being ingested by the baby. Additionally, both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Institute of Medicine have stated that there is no evidence to suggest that silicone breast implants pose a risk to breastfeeding infants. These conclusions provide confidence that breastfeeding with silicone implants is safe and does not endanger the health of the baby.

Myth 2: Breastfeeding with implants is always painful.

Another prevalent myth is that breastfeeding with breast implants is inevitably painful. This belief can deter women from considering augmentation or dissuade those with implants from breastfeeding altogether.

The Reality: While some women with breast implants may experience discomfort while breastfeeding, it is not a universal experience. Pain during breastfeeding can occur for various reasons, such as improper latch, engorgement, or infection (mastitis), and is not solely attributed to the presence of implants. In fact, many women with breast implants report no significant difference in breastfeeding comfort compared to those without implants. Proper surgical technique and implant placement can further minimise any potential discomfort. For instance, placing implants beneath the chest muscle (submuscular placement) rather than directly under the breast tissue (subglandular placement) can reduce pressure on the milk ducts and nerves, thereby decreasing the likelihood of pain. Consulting with an experienced plastic surgeon can help ensure optimal outcomes and comfort during breastfeeding.

Myth 3: Implants make breasts too sensitive or not sensitive enough for breastfeeding.

There is a misconception that breast implants can either heighten breast sensitivity to an uncomfortable level or diminish it to the point where breastfeeding is challenging.

The Reality: Sensitivity changes in the breasts following augmentation are typically temporary. Some women may experience increased or decreased nipple sensitivity immediately after surgery due to swelling or nerve irritation. However, this usually resolves within a few months as the body heals and adjusts to the implants. Long-term changes in sensation are uncommon. The location of the incision can play a role in these sensitivity changes. Incisions made around the areola (periareolar) might carry a higher risk of affecting nipple sensation compared to incisions made under the breast (inframammary) or in the armpit (transaxillary). Nevertheless, significant or permanent changes in sensitivity that impact breastfeeding are rare. Most women regain normal sensitivity and can breastfeed without major issues related to sensation.

Myth 4: Breast implants increase the risk of mastitis.

Mastitis, an infection of the breast tissue that results in pain, swelling, and redness, is a common concern among breastfeeding mothers. The myth suggests that having breast implants increases the likelihood of developing this painful condition.

The Reality: There is no evidence to support the claim that breast implants increase the risk of mastitis. Mastitis is primarily caused by bacterial infection, which can occur when bacteria enter the breast through a cracked or sore nipple. Factors such as poor breastfeeding technique, infrequent feedings, and nipple trauma are more relevant to the development of mastitis than the presence of implants. That said, good breastfeeding practices and proper hygiene can help prevent mastitis, whether or not a woman has breast implants. Ensuring a proper latch, feeding frequently to avoid engorgement, and treating any nipple damage promptly are effective strategies to minimise the risk of mastitis.

Breast implants and breastfeeding

Myth 5: Babies can detect and refuse milk from augmented breasts.

A widespread myth suggests that babies can somehow detect the presence of breast implants and might refuse to breastfeed as a result.

The Reality: Babies do not have the ability to detect whether a mother has breast implants. A baby’s willingness to breastfeed is primarily influenced by the milk supply and the comfort of the latch. The presence of implants does not alter the composition or taste of breast milk, which means there is no discernible difference for the baby. Issues with latching or refusal to breastfeed are typically related to other factors such as improper breastfeeding technique, nipple shape, or medical conditions in the infant, rather than the presence of implants.

Myth 6: All breast implant surgeries lead to loss of nipple sensation, impacting breastfeeding.

There is a common concern that all breast implant surgeries will result in a loss of nipple sensation, which could interfere with the ability to breastfeed.

The Reality: While some changes in nipple sensation can occur after breast implant surgery, they are not inevitable and are usually temporary. Sensation changes are typically due to nerve irritation or damage during surgery, and most women experience a return to normal sensation within a few months. The degree of sensation change can also depend on the surgical technique and incision site. For example, incisions made around the areola (periareolar) carry a slightly higher risk of affecting nipple sensation compared to incisions made under the breast (inframammary) or in the armpit (transaxillary). However, significant or permanent loss of sensation that would interfere with breastfeeding is uncommon.

Myth 7: Breast implants will make the breasts too hard for the baby to latch properly.

Another myth posits that breast implants make the breasts too firm, making it difficult for the baby to latch properly during breastfeeding.

The Reality: Breast implants do not necessarily make the breasts too hard for effective breastfeeding. The firmness of the breast can be influenced by several factors, including the placement of the implants (subglandular versus submuscular) and the natural elasticity of the breast tissue. In most cases, the softness and pliability of the breast remain sufficient for a proper latch. Issues with latching are more commonly related to breastfeeding techniques and the baby’s positioning rather than the presence of implants. It is important for mothers to receive guidance on proper breastfeeding techniques to ensure a good latch, regardless of whether they have breast implants. Lactation consultants can provide valuable support and strategies to help mothers with implants successfully breastfeed their babies.

Myth 8: Only saline implants are safe for breastfeeding, not silicone.

A prevalent myth is that only saline implants are safe for breastfeeding, while silicone implants pose risks to both the mother and the baby.

The Reality: Both saline and silicone implants are considered safe for breastfeeding. Extensive research has shown that silicone implants do not pose significant risks to breastfeeding mothers or their infants. The silicone used in implants is a medical-grade substance, and its large molecular structure prevents it from passing into breast milk. Studies have consistently demonstrated that the levels of silicone in the breast milk of women with implants are not significantly different from those in women without implants. The American Academy of Pediatrics and other health organisations have found no evidence to suggest that silicone implants pose a risk to breastfeeding infants. Consequently, the choice between saline and silicone implants should be based on personal preferences and medical advice rather than concerns about breastfeeding safety.

Myth 9: Implants need to be removed to successfully breastfeed.

One of the more alarming myths is the notion that breast implants must be removed to successfully breastfeed. This misconception can cause undue worry and deter women from both breastfeeding and undergoing augmentation.

The Reality: Breast implants do not need to be removed to facilitate successful breastfeeding. Most women with implants can breastfeed effectively without any need for removal. The placement and type of implants, as well as the surgical technique used, play a role in the ability to breastfeed, but they do not typically necessitate removal. For instance, implants placed beneath the chest muscle (submuscular placement) are less likely to interfere with breastfeeding compared to those placed directly under the breast tissue (subglandular placement). However, even with subglandular placement, many women can breastfeed without issues. Removing implants solely to improve breastfeeding outcomes is generally unnecessary and should only be considered if there are other complications or specific medical indications. Consulting with a knowledgeable plastic surgeon and a lactation consultant can provide personalised guidance and reassurance.

Myth 10: Breastfeeding will cause implants to shift or become misshapen.

The final myth we will address is the belief that breastfeeding can cause implants to shift or become misshapen, potentially compromising the aesthetic results of the augmentation.

The Reality: Breastfeeding itself does not cause implants to shift or become misshapen. Changes in breast shape and size are a natural part of the breastfeeding process, and these changes occur regardless of the presence of implants. Pregnancy and breastfeeding can lead to fluctuations in breast volume, which may affect the overlying breast tissue, but not necessarily the implants themselves. It is important to understand that the implants remain in their surgically created pockets, and while the breast tissue may expand and contract, this does not typically result in the implants shifting or becoming misshapen.

The most significant changes to the breast’s appearance are usually related to the natural stretching of the skin and changes in breast tissue rather than the implants. After breastfeeding, some women may notice a change in the firmness or sagging of their breasts, but these changes are part of the natural aging process and the effects of gravity, rather than a direct consequence of breastfeeding with implants. In cases where women are concerned about the aesthetic changes post-breastfeeding, a follow-up consultation with a plastic surgeon can help address any concerns and discuss options for maintaining or enhancing the breast appearance.

FAQs about Breast Augmentation and Breastfeeding

FAQs Anca Breahna

Can breast implants affect the amount of milk I produce?

  • While breast implants themselves typically do not directly impact milk production, the surgical technique used and the location of the incision can play a role. Incisions made around the areola (periareolar) might slightly increase the risk of affecting milk ducts and nerves involved in milk production. However, many women with implants can still produce a sufficient amount of milk for breastfeeding. Consulting with a lactation expert can provide strategies to maximise milk production.

Is it safe to have breast augmentation surgery after I finish breastfeeding?

  • Yes, it is generally safe to undergo breast augmentation after you have finished breastfeeding. Many women choose to wait until they are done having children and breastfeeding to ensure that the final results of their augmentation are not impacted by the natural changes that occur during pregnancy and breastfeeding. It is recommended to wait several months after finishing breastfeeding to allow the breasts to return to their baseline state before undergoing surgery.

Will my breastfeeding experience differ if I have breast implants?

  • Your breastfeeding experience might differ slightly, but many women with implants successfully breastfeed without significant issues. Some may experience changes in nipple sensation or milk production, depending on factors like implant placement and surgical technique. Support from a lactation consultant can be beneficial in navigating any challenges and ensuring a positive breastfeeding experience.

Are there specific types of implants that are better for breastfeeding mothers?

  • Both saline and silicone implants are generally safe for breastfeeding. The choice between them should be based on personal preference, aesthetic goals, and the advice of your plastic surgeon. Some women prefer silicone implants for their more natural feel, while others opt for saline implants. The placement of the implants (subglandular vs. submuscular) and the surgical technique used are more critical factors in determining breastfeeding success.

Download the Breast Augmentation Guide

Breast Augmentation Guide

 

How long should I wait after breast augmentation before trying to breastfeed?

  • It is important to allow your body adequate time to heal after breast augmentation surgery before breastfeeding. Most surgeons recommend waiting at least 3 to 6 months to ensure complete healing of the breast tissue and to reduce the risk of complications. This waiting period allows for any changes in sensation to normalise and for the breasts to settle into their new shape. If you become pregnant shortly after surgery, discuss your situation with your plastic surgeon to receive tailored advice.

Further Reading about Breast Enlargement with Consultant Plastic Surgeon Anca Breahna

Medical References about Breast Augmentation and Breastfeeding

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About Anca Breahna – Consultant Plastic Surgeon

top UK cosmetic surgeon anca breahnaMs Anca Breahna, PhD, MSc, FEBOPRAS, FRCS (Plast) is a highly regarded Consultant Plastic Surgeon specialising in the field of Aesthetic and Reconstructive Plastic Surgery. Anca performs a range of breast, body and face surgery and minor skin procedures.

As one of the very few female Plastic Surgeons in her region, she is able to offer that unique female perspective, with empathy, attention to detail and personalised care.

Anca Breahna’s surgical training has been largely undertaken within the United Kingdom. She began a rigorous training programme in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in 1999, after achieving her medical degree from the University of Bucharest. Miss Breahna attained her PhD degree at the same university in 2007 for her medical research. She then relocated to the UK to further extend her qualifications and training.

Anca’s NHS practice is now focused on Breast Reconstructive Surgery, Skin Cancer Surgery, Hand Surgery and soft tissue reconstruction. Over the last 15 years, through her pursuit of further training and education, Anca has developed a special interest and expert practical experience in a range of Aesthetic Breast and Body Surgery.

It is Anca’s true dedication and commitment to her field, that sets her aside from her peers. Her extensive surgical training means that you are in safe hands. She is renowned for providing exceptional care, support and helping achieve realistic goals for her patients.

Anca will treat you in a straightforward manner, with respect, consideration and empathy to ensure you are comfortable with your choice.

 

 

Your Next Steps

Do your Research

  • Please read our website pages and blogs to learn more about your intended procedure.
  • All Surgery has risks and potential complications. Please read more about the risks of your surgery.

Making The Most Of Your Consultation

  • A Medical Referral from your Doctor before your consultation is not compulsory however  it is recommended.
  • Please arrive slightly early for your in-person consultation with Anca – Car parking is available on-site at all hospitals.
  • You are welcome to bring a friend or relative to help consider the information and discuss your options.
  • Please be aware you may need to undress for a physical exam so wear simple clothes.
  • Ensure you also take a lot of notes during the consultation and thoroughly read all the documents provided.

Want more information before scheduling your consultation?

Please call to find out more about availability, pricing and medical payment plans or to request more information about the procedure, contact us.

How to Book your Consultation with Anca Breahna – Plastic Surgeon

You can book your consultation with Anca by paying the £150 cosmetic consultation fee when you make your appointment. This fee covers further consultations about the same concern.

Contact Anca’s Team

Call Claire on 0800 080 6026 or Joedy on 03332 244111 to arrange your consultation or email us for more information.

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

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