We have had many questions from our patients about the impact of silicone breast implants and breast feeding. We hope to provide answers to many of the pertinent questions and concerns that some ladies have.

Can silicone breast implants affect my baby during pregnancy?

Another common question is whether silicone in breast implants can travel across the placenta during pregnancy and cause harm to the unborn baby? Two studies in humans have found no increased risk of birth defects in children born to mothers who have had breast implant surgery. Although low birth weight, was reported in a third study, other factors (for example, lower pre-pregnancy weight) may explain this finding.

Can women with breast implants breast feed?

The advantages of breast feeding are well documented.
The majority of women who undergo breast augmentation can successfully breast feed. Breast augmentation usually does not involve severing milk ducts or the destruction of functional breast tissue, and is usually compatible with lactation.

Can silicone from breast implants get into breast milk?

It is not known whether a small amount of silicone can pass through from the breast implant silicone shell into breast milk during breastfeeding. There are no established methods for accurately detecting silicone levels in breast milk, however, a study measuring silicon (one component in silicone) levels did not indicate higher levels in breast milk from women with silicone gel-filled implants when compared to women without implants. Silicon levels in alternative methods of infant nutrition (store-bought cow’s milk) were much higher than those in the breast milk of mothers with silicone implants. Reference
Silicon is widely present in the environment and avoiding ingestion is difficult. Silicone drops have been used for years in Europe and the USA for colic.
Is the silicone within implants (including PIP implants) safe?
The American Regulator, the FDA, after conducting extensive studies and trials, reintroduced silicone gel implants in 2006 after a temporary ban that lasted 15 years.
The UK Regulator (MHRA) commissioned toxicity testing on the unapproved silicone gel used to fill PIP implants including genotoxicity (the ability to damage DNA within cells) and chemical toxicity. The results of these tests have been discussed with relevant experts and the conclusion is that there are no safety issues relating to this filler material. The French Regulator confirmed these conclusions.
The MHRA consulted with experts to discuss whether there was any danger to ladies who breast fed with these implants. It was concluded that there were no safety issues.

Conclusion

There appears to be no contraindication to pregnancy and breast feeding in women who have silicone gel implants including those who have PIP implants. It is recommended that women concerned about their implants, who are intending to breast feed their babies, see their implanting surgeon for clinical examination and, if indicated, a scan. For women who do have PIP implants our advice remains that these implants should be removed or exchanged.