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by Lisa Moore

For those who value their appearance, one of the most desirable and effective procedures for physical improvement is breast augmentation. In fact, roughly 300,000 American women received breast implants surgery from board-certified plastic surgeons during 2010 (1), making it an increasingly popular procedure. Although many women may fear that receiving breast implants could lead to adverse effects when breastfeeding, an Institute of Medicine Committee on the Safety of Silicone Breast Implants concluded that these fears are unsubstantiated (2).

In the past, many researchers hypothesized that silicon could potentially diffuse over the membrane of an implant and affect a female’s milk production. If this were true, infants breastfed by mothers with breast implants would be at a serious risk for ingesting dangerous amounts of silicon. Fortunately, however, researchers who studied silicon concentration in breast milk found no difference between normal milk and milk which had been derived from females with implants (3, 4, 5).

Although breastfeeding with implants poses no risk to children, one difficulty that may arise is an increased risk for lactation insufficiency. According to multiple research studies, those who have undergone any form of breast surgery are roughly three times more likely to suffer a decrease in overall milk production (6, 7, 8). If this issue does occur, using an infant formula may be necessary.

Despite a potential decrease in milk production, breastfeeding with implants is a completely safe procedure. For those who wish to improve their appearance, consulting board certified plastic surgeons about the possibility to have breast implants surgery and asking for advice from your lactation consultantsmay be the best decision one can make.

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1 American Society of Plastic Surgeons. 2010 regional distribution. Retrieved from

2 Bondurant S, et al. Safety of silicone breast implants. Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on the Safety of Silicone Breast Implants.

3 Lugowski S, et al. Silicon levels in blood, breast milk and breast capsules of patients with silicone breast implants and controls. Fifth World Biomaterials Congress; Toronto, Canada. 1996 Jun.

4 Lugowski SJ, et al. A review of silicon and silicone determination in tissue and body fluids—a need for standard reference materials. Fresenius Journal of Analytical Chemistry. 1998;360:486–488.

5 Semple JL, et al. Breast milk contamination and silicone implants: preliminary results using silicon as a proxy measurement for silicone. Plast. Reconstr. Surg. 1998;102(2):528–33.

6 Hurst NM. Lactation after augmentation mammoplasty. Obstetrics and Gynecology. 1996;87(1):30–34

7 Neifert M, et al. The influence of breast surgery, breast appearance, and pregnancy-induced breast changes in lactation sufficiency as measured by infant weight gain. Birth. 1990;17(1):31–38

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