Breast augmentation patients at my Toronto clinic who plan to have children in the future often worry about their ability to breastfeed with implants. The good news is that breast implants themselves rarely interfere with breastfeeding, but certain choices you make about your breast augmentation surgery can affect your ability to do so.
For example, if you plan to breastfeed, the decision about where to make incisions for inserting the implants is important. Additionally, I use a “no-touch” technique to insert breast implants. This techniques reduces the risks of infection and also capsular contracture, both of which can affect breastfeeding.
In this blog post, I’ll explain why incision location and using the no-touch approach are both important factors for women considering breastfeeding after their breast augmentation procedure.
There are 3 options when it comes to where plastic surgeons make incisions for breast augmentation: periareolar, inframammary, and transaxillary. The periareolar incision, which is made on the lower edge of the darker skin surrounding the nipple, is associated with complications that can interfere with future breastfeeding. That’s because the ducts that supply breast milk may be inadvertently disrupted by the incision. The sensory nerves may also be inadvertently disrupted. The most common choice is the inframammary incision, which is made at the breast fold where the breast connects to the torso. I recommend this incision for women concerned about their future ability to breastfeed. Patients can also have an incision made in the armpit (transaxillary), but this is much less common and associated with more revisions and higher chance of superior displacement, bleeding, and capsular contracture (axillary approach is not recommended in the no-touch breast augmentation technique).
I described this approach in detail in a previous blog post, but it’s important to understand how the technique relates to minimizing the risk of capsular contracture, which can interfere with breastfeeding. Even though it’s relatively rare, capsular contracture is the most common complication associated with breast augmentation. It occurs when the capsule that naturally forms around the breast implant tightens (contracts), causing the breast to look unnatural and feel hard. Capsular contracture can also pose a risk to breastfeeding, especially if it’s severe enough to require surgical revision.
Bacteria is strongly linked to the development of capsular contracture, so the no-touch technique I use is designed to significantly reduce the chances of bacterial infection. The steps I take include irrigating the breast implant pockets with an antibacterial solution and bathing the implants themselves with the same antiseptic solution. Additionally, I use new gloves just before inserting the implants, and then use the Keller Funnel®, a groundbreaking innovation that gives surgeons the ability to insert implants without actually touching them with their gloves or the edges of a patient’s skin. Avoiding the areola and the axilla (underarm) serves a similar purpose.
Avoiding bacterial infection is another reason to make incisions at the breast fold because the presence of bacteria is greater around the nipple, in the breast ducts and in the axilla.
It’s important to discuss your plans to have children with a Royal College-certified plastic surgeon during your consultation, so the surgical plan is created with that topic in mind. If you’re currently considering breast augmentation, you can contact us using the online form to request a consultation or call Visage Clinic at (416) 929-9800 (Yorkville).