For women in their child-bearing years who have had or are considering breast augmentation, the ability to breastfeed their babies can be a big concern. When performed by an experienced and skilled board-certified plastic surgeon, the risks of breast augmentation interfering with lactation are lessened.
If you have had or are considering breast augmentation, speak with your surgeon about how this type of surgery will affect your risk for future lactation. The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) reported on a number of studies on the effects of breast implants on lactation. If found that women who have had any type of breast surgery are more likely to have problems lactating than women who have had no breast surgery. Women who have had breast augmentation with implants were even more likely to experience lactation problems, especially if their surgeons use the periareolar (outside the nipple) type of incision. They are also less likely to even attempt breastfeeding because they are afraid they will not be able to produce enough milk to feed their babies. There is also an increased risk for other breastfeeding-related problems, including mastitis, a type of infection that is more common when women have clogged milk ducts.
Breast augmentation can be performed using several incision techniques: around the nipple, through the armpit, at the breast fold and, least commonly, through the navel. Although all types of breast surgery increase the risk of future lactation problems, an incision around the nipple area is more likely to interfere with lactation than an incision under the breasts or near the armpit.