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Will I Definitely Lose Feeling in my Nipples After a Reduction?

I am scheduled for a consultation in a few weeks for a breast reduction. I have been doing my research and the only concern I have is loss of sensation. Is this something that is inevitable? Do I really have to give this up in order to have smaller breasts? I will go ahead because I know the pro's out weigh the cons but it all actuality it makes me sad to think about.

Doctor Answers (10)

Nipple sensation after breast reduction

Loss of nipple sensation is not inevitable except with a free nipple graft (and I reserve this for patients with extremely significant ptosis or sagging--usually accompanied by huge breasts--in the F+ range). Temporary decrease in sensation is common and this abates in an overwhelming majority of patients over time. Breast reduction is a terrific operation with an extraordinarily high level of patient satisfaction because it will not only improve your cosmetic appearance but alleviate neck, back and shoulder pain and rashes under the breasts. If your breasts are only marginally larger than you'd like, then the issue of decreased sensation becomes a more significant consideration than in patients with gigantic breasts. Regardless, it's great to see a patient who is doing a lot of homework prior ot the consultation!
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Small Percentage Of Nipple Sensation Loss After Reduction


It certainly is not inevitable that you will lose your nipple sensation with a breast reduction, unless you have a free nipple-areolar graft in which case there is always loss of sensation.  With other techniques you chance of loss of nipple sensation should be relatively low (<4-5%).  Consult a BC plastic surgeon with whom you can discuss benefits/risks.

Louisville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Loss of Sensation...


Most patients who have a standard breast reduction maintain sensation as long as a free nipple graft is not performed. Loss of sensation is always a risk, but as you note, the benefits usually outweigh those risks. Good Luck!

Vacaville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

Loss of sensation


To-Date I have not seen a patient who experienced complete loss of nipple sensation.  In some instances, one or both nipples may had added sensation or may experience temporary loss but typicall during the first 3-6 mos post-op most patients will have resumed normal nipple sensation

Charlotte Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Breast Reduction and Loss of Sensation?


Thank you for the question.

Congratulations on your decision to proceed with breast reduction surgery; it is one of the most patient pleasing operations would perform.

The majority of patients who undergo breast reduction surgery will have normal sensation after the procedure. Only the  rare patient that requires “free nipple grafting” will  always have loss of sensation.

Again, most patients who present with neck/back/shoulder discomfort symptoms associated with breast hypertrophy are very pleased with the results of breast reduction surgery.

Please make sure you consult with well experienced board-certified plastic surgeons.

Best wishes.

Web reference:

San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 626 reviews

Nipple sensation loss


As you mentioned in you question, benefits are more than the risks. In general after a breast reduction the chances of sensation loss immediately after surgery is around 20%, most of this patients will recover the sensation over the coming months, the rate for permanent loss of sensation is less than 5%. So most likely you will be ok after surgery.

Good luck

Kansas City Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Nipple sensation following breast reduction surgery


The nerves that provide sensation to the breast  come up from between the ribs all around the breast.    Since a breast reduction involves the removal of breast tissue as well as reshaping it is certainly possible for there to be a change in nipple sensation.  The procedure is designed to allow for sensation but it is certainly something that can not be guaranteed and must come into the discussion of risks vs. benefits.   A thorough discussion with your plastic surgeon will help you make a decision that is correct for you.  

Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Breast reduction and sensation


It is unlcear why some lose sensation while others do not. It could be from stretching or the sensory nerves or by actually cutting them. It is not common to see them during surgery.  Be that as it may, most people have some sensory changes after surgery that improves in the first 6-8 weeks. About 85% have normal sensation after one year.

Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Will You loose nipple sensation with breast lift and/ or reduction


the chance of loosing nipple sensation with breast lift and reduction is low, as long as the nipple-areolar complex is not completely detached and regrafted. Although there is variation in techniques for breast reduction, I usually see that more than 90% of my patient retain most of their nipple sensation with major breast lift or breast reduction in los angeles.

Web reference:

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Nipple Sensation After Breast Reduction


The very large majority of patients retain normal sensation after a breast reduction, but unfortunately you never know ahead of time which group of patients you are in. If loss of sensation would prevent you from doing the reduction then you have your answer - don't do the surgery. But the odds are you will have no problem. There is a seldom done procedure reserved for patients with extremely large breasts that requires taking the nipple totally off the breast and then sewing it back on later. All of those patients lose feeling but most of those patients will tell you they had little or no feeling before surgery. That technique is called a "Free Nipple Graft". And no, it is not free!

Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 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.

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