Ask a doctor

Breast Lift (No Implants) - What's the Risk of Losing Nipple Sensation?

I've had 3 PS consults. I understand all surgery carries risks. My last consult told me loss of nipple sensation risk is "50/50". The previous 2 consults did not give such serious odds. So I'm wondering, is this last consult a great Dr, who would rather give me the "worst case scenario" and have me pleased, vs "sugar coat" things and have me very unhappy afterwards, or is this Dr perhaps a "chop shop" doctor, not giving the delicate concern to my end result (and therefore not the best choice)?

Doctor Answers (11)

Promoted Local Answer Promoted local answers are based on Featured Doctor activity within your current location.

Risk of nipples sensory loss in a breast lift?


Thank you for this question.


Nipple sensory loss is more common in breast augmentation and breast reduction surgery because the nerve that supplies sensation  to the nipple can be in the path where the implant lives or within the tissue that is being removed in a breast reduction.

Most breast lifts, regardless of type are in a much more superficial plane.  Therefore, it is much less likely, but not impossible that the nerve could be injured.

As you embark on this it is always safest to be comfortable with the worst case scenario, but in my own experience it is not likely that nipple sensation will be lost in a routine breast lift.  In a full breast lift it is quite common that the superficial skin will be known for a number of months. This superficial skin sensory loss will usually return.


Best wishes.

Washington DC Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Breast Lift (No Implants) - What's the Risk of Losing Nipple Sensation?


There is always a risk of nipples sensation loss or alteration ,following breast lift surgery

The larger the breast ,the greater the degrees of sagging ,the greater the risk of sensation loss

The risk of sensation loss also has to do with the surgical technique

There are three basic techniques , the anchor , the vertical and the circum-areolar 

the circum-areolar with only skin excision carries the lowest risk

Web reference:

Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Sensation loss after surgery


Each doctor has a good idea of their results so if someone told me a number like 50% I would be a bit worried. I think most doctors have a much lower rate.Good Luck!

Richmond Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Risk of Loss of Nipple Sensation with Breast Lift


Change of sensation or loss of sensation of the nipple is a known complication from breast surgery including breast lift.  Understanding the anatomy and performing the surgery properly is key to minimizing this risk.  Fifty percent is extremely high.  If that is the surgeons experience in his practice I would be concerned.  Some women may also experience a slight increase in sensation during the early recovery which then usually goes back to normal. I tell patients there is about a 10% chance they may experience a change in nipple sensation but in practice that number is much lower.

Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon

What's the Risk of Losing Nipple Sensation?


In a recent (2007) large series (500 patients)  of breast reductions the full loss of sensation was reported at 1 percent. Partial loss was noted to be 10%. A breast reduction has the same or greater incisions, and more manipulation of breast tissue, so if anything would carry a higher risk than just a breast lift.  Fifty percent is an exaggeration, but I would go elsewhere in case it is accurate accounting of that surgeon's experience. 

Thanks and best wishes.

Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Breast Lift - Sensory Disturbance


   In my patient population, I have about 5 to 10% who report hypersensitivity that resolves over time.   Having numbness is very unusual in my experience.  This may have to do with techniques employed and tissues rearranged.

Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 147 reviews

Loss of sensation after breast lift


Although the technique of the lift influences the risk of loss of sensation to the nipple, the vast majority of patients should retain their normal sensation although there may be a temporary period of numbness. I would not venture a guess as to what each doctor's response reveals about that particular doctor.


Robin T.W. Yuan, M.D.

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Loss of Sensation after Breast Lifting?


Thank you for the question.

As you can imagine,  without direct examination, and knowing exactly what operation is indicated, it is not possible to give you precise advice. Having said that, the risk of permanent loss of sensation with breast lift surgery should be much lower than “50/50”.  When I discuss this risk with patients,  my best estimation is 5 to 10%,  mainly depending on exactly what type of procedure is planned.

 I hope this helps.

Web reference:

San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 626 reviews

Risk of nipple sensory loss after breast lift


The number 50% would be high, based on my experience and virtually all published studies.  Some doctors do indeed give a worst case scenario, and this may be the situation you have experienced with the doctor who quoted this figure.  As to his expertise check his credentials, experience, practice focus, and quality of hospital affiliations.

Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Breast lift


The risk of nipple sensory loss is relatively low, but it depends on the severity of the sagginess. The heavier and longer the breast, the more likely it is that there may be temporary, if not permanent, change in nipple sensation. Most patients do not lose sensation permanently, although a brief (up to several months) period of diminished or altered sensation may occur. It also depends on the technique of lift, with more incisions resulting in a higher risk of change in sensation. The periareolar or circumareolar (more or less the same thing) have the lowest risk, as they preserve maximal connections to the nipple from surrounding skin and tissue.

Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 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.

You might also like...