Breastfeeding Does Not Alter Breast Appearance after Cosmetic Surgery, ASPS Study Says

DENVER - A woman's perception of how breastfeeding will impact the appearance of her breasts following breast augmentation, strongly influences her chances of successfully breastfeeding, says a study being presented at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) annual conference, Plastic Surgery 11 THE Meeting, September 23-27, in Denver.  In the study, 86 percent of mothers with breast implants who failed at breastfeeding also believed it would negatively affect the look of their breasts, which influenced their success. However, it's the number of pregnancies, not breastfeeding, which causes breasts to sag over time, the study reports.

"If a woman believes that breastfeeding will adversely affect her breast appearance, she decreases her chances of successful breastfeeding," said Norma Cruz, MD, ASPS Member Surgeon and study author. "This misconception is unfortunate. Reassuring women that breastfeeding won't harm their breast appearance, and that it has significant health advantages for both mother and baby is vitally important."

The study followed the breastfeeding habits of 160 breast augmentation patients.  A period of two weeks or more of exclusive breastfeeding was the defining duration of a "successful" breastfeeding attempt.  Women who were successful or unsuccessful at breastfeeding were extremely similar in demographics such as age, body mass, implant size and incision location. The only significant difference between the two groups was the perceived effect breastfeeding would have on the appearance of their breasts. Among the 63 women who successfully breastfed, only 13 percent believed it would have an adverse effect on the aesthetic quality of their breasts. Conversely, in the group of 97 women who were unsuccessful, 86 percent believed breastfeeding would have a negative impact on the appearance of their breasts.

"It makes sense that breast augmentation patients would be concerned about the effect breastfeeding could have on the appearance of their breasts. After all, these women have invested both time and money into them," said Dr. Cruz. "However, available evidence tells us that although breasts sag more with each pregnancy, breastfeeding doesn't seem to worsen these effects in women with or without breast implants."

According to the WomensHealth.gov, a project of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health, breastfeeding improves both a mother and child's overall health. For mothers, breastfeeding is linked to a lower risk of type two diabetes, breast cancer, ovarian cancer and post-partum depression. In newborns, breastfeeding helps build their immune systems, fight diseases and build a stronger connection between mother and child. 

"Now that we know breast augmentation patients' views on how breastfeeding will impact the look of their breasts, patient education becomes critical to improving perceptions and strengthening the health and lives of both mother and child," said Dr. Cruz.

The study, "The Perceived Effect of Breastfeeding on Breast Aesthetics: Does it Affect Breastfeeding Success in Women with Breast Augmentation," is being presented in electronic format, September 24-26, at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver.

Reporters can register to attend Plastic Surgery 11 THE Meeting or arrange interviews with presenters by contacting ASPS Public Relations at (847) 228-9900 or in Denver, September 23-27, at (303) 228-8410.

About ASPS

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) is the world's largest organization of board-certified plastic surgeons. Representing more than 7,000 Member Surgeons, the Society is recognized as a leading authority and information source on aesthetic and reconstructive plastic surgery. ASPS comprises more than 94 percent of all board-certified plastic surgeons in the United States. Founded in 1931, the Society represents physicians certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery or The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. ASPS advances quality care to plastic surgery patients by encouraging high standards of training, ethics, physician practice and research in plastic surgery. 

Contact ASPS

Media Relations
(847) 228-9900
media@plasticsurgery.org