Pregnancy and Breast Implants
Pregnancy after having Breast Augmentation is quite common. During pregnancy, a woman’s breasts will develop and enlarge around the breast implants in preparation for breastfeeding. These changes occur as a result of hormone surges, and the extent by which the breast volume increases varies between women. This effect could be subtle, but it could also result in a significant breast engorgement. In all cases, these changes will remain until after a woman has stopped breastfeeding (or, if not breastfeeding, after childbirth).
At this time, the breasts will most likely return to their pre-pregnancy size. Some women are, however, left with a reduced breast volume after their pregnancy. In more pronounced cases, this may result in a significant loss of shape and sagging. This is unrelated to having breast implants, and would have happened whether or not they had a breast enlargement prior to pregnancy.
Normal changes to the breasts during pregnancy may include:
- The breasts feel swollen or fuller
- The breasts become enlarged
- Increased prominence of veins
- Darkening of the nipple and areola
- Increased nipple prominence
- Tenderness and/or tingling sensation
- Sensitivity or soreness of the nipple
Your previous pregnancy (if you’ve previously been pregnant) and your mother’s experience during pregnancy are probably the best indicator of what will happen to your breasts during pregnancy. Being younger at the time of pregnancy, and having only a small enlargement during your pregnancy, usually means that you are more likely to have your breasts return to their pre-pregnancy state. However, this is never guaranteed. Sometimes even in young women with only a minimal enlargement, their breasts may shrink to a smaller volume than before, and/or be left with loose, hanging skin.
Touch-Ups and Revisions After Pregnancy
If any work is required to restore the pre-pregnancy size and shape of your breasts, Dr. Perrone will ask you to first wait for at least 3 months after you have stopped breastfeeding, or 3 months after pregnancy (whichever is later), to allow for your breasts to stop changing and stabilize. Once your breasts have stabilized and are no longer changing, Dr. Perrone will be able to see you and determine whether or not there is anything that needs to be done to touch-up your breasts. It is then important to wait until all breast milk is gone from your breasts before any revision surgery; operating on breasts still containing milk can increase the risk of infection and Capsular Contracture (implant hardening).
The most common corrective procedure is to perform a Breast Lift (also known as a Mastopexy) on a sagging breast to lift the nipple and to remove the excess stretched skin. For women who do not have augmented breasts, Breast Lift and Augmentation (Augmentation Mastopexy) is often a common procedure as a part of the Mummy Makeover group of surgeries.
Breastfeeding and Breast Implants
Breast implants are safe and do not interfere with breastfeeding. The overwhelming majority of women who have had Breast Augmentation surgery not only benefit from an enhanced feeling of femininity and self-esteem, but are also able to channel their maternal bond through breastfeeding. Some women cannot breastfeed successfully, however, regardless of whether or not they have had an augmentation. For these women, there are many other beautiful ways in which they can share and nurture the bond with their baby in early motherhood.
Breast Augmentation Techniques
Breast implants are always placed beneath the breast gland. When Breast Augmentation is completed through a breast fold (Infra-Mammary) or armpit (Trans-Axillary) approach, the implants slide underneath the breast tissue and do not interfere with the gland. When surgery is performed through a small incision around the border of the areola (Peri-Areolar), dissection of some small milk-producing glands and ducts is necessary to allow insertion of the breast implants. However, since the vast majority of the gland is untouched, and the milk ducts that lead to the nipple remain undisturbed, this does not prevent future breastfeeding or breast milk production.
In summary: breast implants DO NOT prevent women from breastfeeding.
Breast Gland Tissue
When an experienced Surgeon carries out Breast Augmentation, injury to breast gland tissue and milk ducts that would impair milk production ability is very rare. During surgery, Dr Perrone carefully dissects the breast tissue from the underlying muscle to create the pocket into which the breast implant is placed.
Breast implant sizes that are not excessively large and require only minimal dissection of the breast tissue will most likely have no impact on breastfeeding ability.
Some women undergo abreast enlargement because they have underdeveloped (hypoplastic) breasts. These women will likely have problems producing enough milk; not because they have implants, but because they naturally had very little milk-producing breast tissue prior to surgery.
Nipple Sensation After Breast Augmentation
Sensation of the nipple and areola is largely preserved after Breast Augmentation. Any reduction or loss of feeling is usually only temporary and sensation comes back after time.
Sometimes, however, and especially when women choose excessively large breast implants, sensation can decrease. If this effect is significant, it may diminish the ability of the breast to detect a baby’s sucking, which is a stimulant for further milk production. Loss of sensation may also impact a mother’s ability to feel if her baby has not latched on properly, which can cause damage to the nipple.
Silicone in Breast Milk
Some women considering Breast Augmentation worry that silicone from breast implants might contaminate their breast milk. However, breast implants should have no effect on the quality or composition of breast milk. Moreover, even if any silicone were to find its way into the breast milk, it would cause no harm to a baby as it is an inert substance. In fact, silicone rubber is commonly used in baby bottle nipples(teats) for its cleanliness and low extractability. Silicone is also found widely in hair conditioners, shampoos and styling products, and as coatings on pharmaceuticals pills.
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