Does a Breast Lift or Implants Cause Loss of Sensation in the Nipples?

Doctor Answers 10

Nipple sensation and Implants?

Dear Jaaye,
Thank you for your post. In general, most women who have a disturbance in nipple sensation, whether it be less (hypo-sensation), or in some cases too much (hyper-sensation), the sensation goes back to normal with 3-6 months. Occasionally, it can take 1 - 2 years to be normal. Extremely rare, the sensation never goes back to normal. This is extremely rare in augmentation alone, more common in lift or reduction. Signs that sensation is coming back are needle type sensation at the nipple, itchiness at the nipple, or 'zingers' to the nipple. The number of women that lose sensation is much lower than 10%, closer to 1% in a simple augmentation. Unfortunately there is no surgical correction for this. Massaging the area can help sensation normalize faster if it is going to normalize, but will not help if the nerve does not recover. In women with hyper-sensitive nipples, this will go away with time. usually 3 months or so. In the interim, I have them wear nipple covers or 'pasties' to protect them from rubbing.
Best Wishes,
Pablo Prichard, MD

Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Does a breast lift or implants cause loss of sensation in the nipples?

Hello! Thank you for your question! Breast procedures such as the breast lift and breast reduction certainly result in a more shapely, perky, and fuller appearance of your breasts along with raising of the nipple-areolar complex to an appropriate position. Since there is an incision made around the areola along with some rearrangement of tissue of the breast, there is a risk, albeit very small, of change in sensation to the area. The reported rate of sensation changes (decreased, loss, or increased) is ~7%. In my experience, this rate is reportedly much lower, but is higher when tissue is excised or the amount of lift that is needed, so the breast reduction procedure has a slightly greater risk.

It is one risk of such a procedure, and one that you must consider, amongst others, as with any surgical procedure. You should consult with a plastic surgeon well-trained in breast procedures who will examine and discuss with you the various risks and benefits of the procedure(s) and assist you in deciding if such a procedure will be the right decision for you.

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Breast Augmentation/Lifting and Loss of Sensation?

Any patient undergoing any type of breast surgery should be aware that loss of sensation is a possibility. The incidents will vary depending on exactly what procedures performed. Breast augmentation/lifting is associated with a risk of approximately 5 to 15% of permanent loss of sensation.
Best wishes.

Nipple sensory changes

It is difficult to predict why some women lose  or have a change in sensation after a breast lift or implant placement.  It happens to about 10-15%.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Breast lift and loss of nipple sensation

Loss of nipple sensation is relatively common with a breast lift but fortunately, it is rarely permanent.  Most of the time the numbness resolves in several weeks. 

Theodore Katz, MD, FACS
Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

What causes loss of sensation to the nipples after breast surgery?

Sensation to the nipple area goes through a nerve that comes into the breast from the lateral side, branching out from under a rib. With implant surgery, it is vulnerable to being strertched or injured when the implant pocket is being developed in the lateral direction. For that reason, bigger implants probably have a higher risk of damage to the nerve. With a lift, there is more rearrangement of the breast tissue so thenerve may be affected closer to the nipple. Most of the time sensation loss is temporary.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Loss of Sensation with Breast Implants or Breast Lift

There is always a risk of alternation in sensation to the nipples with any breast surgery.  However, this risk is rare.  In many instances, there is a temporary change in sensation as the breasts heal, but most people return to normal sensation.  Good luck.

David Shafer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 66 reviews

LLoss of sensation after breast surgery

Any type of breast surgery, lifts, implants etc can cause numbness of the nipples.  Permanent numbness is relatively rare but it is a risk all patients must be willing to take on to have surgery.

Sensation Loss After Breast Surgery

Everyone has transient and temporary changes in their nipple sensation after an augmentation or a lift.  Some women are hyper-sensitive, while others are numb.  This should all be temporary, but can take anyhwhere from 1-6 months to resolve.  There is a small chance of permanent nerve sensation changes ( 0.01%), but is very rare.  I hope this helps.

Loss of sensation in the nipples after breast lift and/or augmentation with implants.

A breast lift and/or implants can certainly cause a loss of sensation to the nipples. Frequently this is temporary during the post-operative period and resolves in most cases by 2 years. However, it can be permanent.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.