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Will I Lose Sensitivity in My Nipples when I Have a Breast Lift?

Doctor Answers 19

Nipple sensation after breast lift (mastopexy)

The nerves to the nipples travel through the breast tissue, not through the skin.  A proper breast lift should include some sort of remodelling of the breast tissue.  Therefore there is some risk of a change in nipple sensation with this operation, about 10%.  (None of this is due to the incisions in the skin, however.)  Just keep in mind that all surgery involves some risk.

Abington Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Will I lose sensitivity in my nipples when I have a breast lift?

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

Loss of Nipple Sensation after Breast Lifting?

Thank you for the question.

Yes there is a risk of loss or change of nipple/ areola sensation with breast lifting surgery. Exact percentages are hard to come by but my estimation would be 5 to 10% risk of a decreased or complete loss of sensation with this operation.

Patients must weigh this risk (along with many others)  against the benefits of the procedure when contemplating breast lifting surgery.

I hope this helps.

Sensory changes with breast lift.

Breast lift often involves breast tissue incision, small volume excision or breast transposition to remodel the breast.  These procedures may reduce nipple sensation.

Robert Sleightholm, MD
Brampton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Loss of Nipple Sensitivity is a Variable Risk with Breast Lift

Hi there-

The risk of nipple sensation exists with any operation on the breast, and will be greater as the complexity of the operation increases, but when well-executed by an experienced surgeon certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery, the risks should be acceptably low.

Sensation of the nipples after mastopexy breast lift

Nipple sensation should be gauged before surgery. Most patients will retain nipple sensation, some will have higher rates of sensation, and a small percentage may have diminished sensation.  It all depends on the surgery that was performed. 

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 70 reviews

It is a risk

Sensation changes are generally considered temporary and will go away in about a year. If the sensation doesn't return in two years, then it probably won't return to how it was before surgery.

Permanent Loss of Sensation in Nipples is Unusual Following Breast Lift

         Permanent loss of sensation is unusual following breast lift surgery. In the vast majority of patients who have decreased sensation following breast lift, sensation returns without treatment.


         Under these circumstances, decreased sensation is related to swelling and stretching of the nerves during surgery. It’s not unusual for patients to have pins and needle sensations known as dysesthesia following surgery. This resolves with time as well.


         Rarely permanent loss of sensation occurs following breast lift surgery. Although the exact incidence is unknown, most surgeons would estimate the incidence at about one to five percent.

Loss of nipple sensation with breast lift ( mastopexy)

The poteintial for loss of nipple sensation will depend on the extent of the surgery and the use of implants. More extensive lifts will have a higher risk whereas smaller lifts would be highly unlikely to cause diminished senstivity.

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

You are unlikely to lose nipple sensitivity after a breast lift.

Since a breast lift addresses a discrepancy between your skin volume and your breast tissue, it is unlikely that you will lose sensation.  However, any surgery on or near the breast could theoretically lead to some loss of sensation.  Usually this is temporary, but a rare case can be permanent.

Francisco Canales, MD
Santa Rosa Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 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.