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Think You Can’t Breastfeed After Implants? Think Again

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Johns Hopkins expert Gedge Rosson, M.D. debunks the myth surrounding breastfeeding after breast surgery.

woman breastfeeding

Myth:

Women cannot breastfeed after getting breast implants or a breast reduction.

Truth: 

When pregnant or planning to have children, many women who have had breast surgery (breast augmentation or reduction) question whether they will be able to breastfeed. Despite what some women may assume, the answer is often yes.

“The most misunderstood thing about breast surgery is the anatomy,” says Dr. Gedge Rosson, director of breast reconstruction at Johns Hopkins.

During breast augmentation surgery, breast implants are placed between your chest wall and your breast, avoiding interference with the breast ducts or mammary glands from which milk is excreted. While some glandular tissue is removed during breast reduction, in most cases enough breast tissue is left to enable milk production after surgery.

However, while breast surgery doesn’t mean you can’t breastfeed, there is no guarantee that the mother will have a full supply of milk, says Nadine Rosenblum, a nurse and lactation consultant with The Johns Hopkins Hospital prenatal lactation program. Milk supply may also be limited if the type of incision used during breast surgery severs the nerves in the breast and nipple that are stimulated by nursing.

Consult with your reconstructive surgeon and a lactation consultant before your surgery.

Learn more about breast augmentation and breast reduction at Johns Hopkins.

Waiting until after you have children to have breast augmentation, reduction or breast lift surgery may help decrease the need for further adjustments or revisions, as your breast tissue may be altered after a pregnancy.

Visit our Health Library to learn more about breastfeeding.

This article was also reviewed by Nadine Rosenblum, MS RN IBCLC APHN-BC, perinatal lactation program coordinator at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. 

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