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Nipple Piercings and Breast Implants

Let’s run through the basics of a nipple piercing.

Nipple piercings combined with breast implants pose a higher risk of infection, it doesn’t matter if you have had your nipple piercings in place for years, or if you decide to get your nipples pierced after surgery. The mammary ducts of the nipple are not sterile and carry endogenous bacteria from the skin’s surface to the deep breast tissue, potentially causing infections in the breast implant cavity, if the infection is serious enough, the implant may need to be removed.

Doctors often opt for a ‘nipple shield’ when performing cosmetic breast augmentation surgery; to reduce contamination of the implant with skin bacteria. This is which why upper-half sexual contact is discouraged for at least six weeks post-surgery.

Do you have to take your nipple piercings out before surgery?

This will all depend on the type of cosmetic surgery procedure you proceed with. If you’re undergoing a procedure that involves a mastopexy (breast lift), it is necessary to remove the nipple piercing due to the increased infection risk. Mastopexy’s (Breast Lifts) usually involve a periareolar incision (around the areola) which have a higher risk of infection than the inframammary incision (under the breast crease).

A straight forward breast augmentation or a cosmetic breast surgery that doesn’t involve a lift or a cut around the incision. However, we recommend replacing the metal bars with plastic ones to avoid burns from the diathermy machine used during surgery.

How long should I leave my nipple piercings out after surgery?

For straight forward breast augmentations, you will need to leave your plastic bars in for at least three months. Removing and replacing jewellery can allow for the introduction of bacteria, increasing your risk of infection.

How long after surgery should I have to wait before I get my nipples pierced?

If you do wish to get your nipple pierced after surgery, we recommend waiting at least a minimum of three months.

I’ve had my nipples pierced for 5 years and now I want to get implants. Can I still get an infection from my nipple piercings?

Although you may have had piercings for years, irritation from knocking or changing jewellery can still allow bacteria to enter and cause infections.

Can nipple piercings cause capsular contracture?

While there are no specific studies on nipple piercings and capsular contracture, it’s known that capsular contracture can result from unwanted bacteria in the implant cavity, suggesting a potential link. 

It is essential to stay informed about potential complications and follow your Doctor’s guidelines diligently. Consulting your doctor is vital, as the information provided here is not a substitute for professional medical advice. 

Doctors may have different guidelines so make sure you consult your treating doctor – these points are not a substitute for professional medical advice.