Will Nipple and Breast Numbness After Breast Implants Go Away?

I had breast augmentation 2 weeks ago, and my nipples and a large part of my breasts are numb. Is this normal, and will it go away? I started as a 34A, and had 375 cc's, putting me currently in the C-D range. I'm about 5'5", 120 lbs, light frame. My skin feels really tight, like it still hasn't stretched enough, and sometimes I feel like I have a tiny bit of heat rash on them. The crease scars still hurts a little, but nothing unbearable. More than anything, I want the sensation to return. Any advice?

Doctor Answers 12

Numbness improves over weeks and months


The numbness you experience at 2 weeks post-op will almost certainly improve. Some of it may resolve in the next few weeks. At least, you should notice changing sensations; numbness progressing to tingling progressing to decreased feeling, then hopefully normal sensation. Final improvement could take 6-18 months. In most studies permanent numbness rates are about 15%, but most patients feel altered sensation early on during their recovery.

Greenville Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

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Loss of Sensation Following Breast Augmentation

Although breast augmentation is a relatively safe operative procedure, occasionally complications can occur. Loss of sensation is a recognized complication of breast augmentation and can occur in about five percent of patients. Loss of sensation may involve the breast skin or in more serious cases, the actual nipple areola complex. In the vast majority of cases, it’s a transcient phenomenon that resolves with time, but in some cases, it may be permanent.

The problem seems to occur more frequently when larger implants are used. This tends to stretch the nerves and compress them as well resulting in loss of sensation. It’s important that you discuss this issue thoroughly with your plastic surgeon. Although relatively rare, there’s no question that loss of nipple areola sensation can potentially occur with this procedure.

Will nipple and breast numbness after breast implants go away?

Hello! Thank you for your question!  Your symptoms sound like your nerves regenerating.  Breast procedures such as the breast augmentation and breast lift/reduction certainly result in a more shapely, perky, and fuller appearance of your breasts. With any breast procedure 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% for lift/reductions and much smaller for breast augmentation. 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 can take up to a year for full sensation to return.  Re-educating your nerves to these areas by using different textures when showering and putting on lotion often helps.

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 13 reviews

Nipple numbness

Dear SaraJane,
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 but less with a smaller lift like a crescent lift. 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. In some cases the same occurs with contraction where some women have no contraction and some women have a constant contraction of the nipples. 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 in most cases. Usually 3 months or so. In the interim, I have them wear nipple covers or 'pasties' to protect them from rubbing. It is unlikely that down-sizing the implant will cause regaining sensation. Down-sizing the implant may cause saggy breasts, however, and may necessitate a breast lift. Physical therapy with de-sensitivity techniques can help with this issue.
Best Wishes,
Pablo Prichard, MD

Pablo Prichard, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Numbness after breast augmentation

It is very common for changes in sensation to occur, whether it be a n increase or decrease in sensitivity. Usually these changes will return to normal after a few weeks or months  after surgery. 

Sensation Change after Augmentation

Although the risk of permanent sensation loss is very low, it is possible to see temporary sensation changes that take 3-6 months to return.   I typically warn patients that the larger the implant that is placed, the higher the risk of sensation changes.     This is because the sensory nerve to the nipple and areola will be stretched by the implant.    The good news is that most cases stretch injury to the nerve results are temporary. 

I would recommend aggressive massage exercises to the implant and any areas of burning/tingling.  I wish you a safe and healthy recovery.

Paul S. Gill, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

The sensation will most likely return

 The sensation should return over the next few weeks, but it may take several months or more.  I don't think it's anything to worry about at the moment:  be patient, heal well, and things should settle down and the sensation return in a few weeks time.


Shahram Salemy, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 112 reviews

Numbness after augmentation mammoplasty

Numbness and tightness occur after any operation where the skin and muscle are undermined. Remember just 2 wks. ago you were an A cup and now your skin is stretching to accommodate the prostheses and your brain needs time to relearn what your breasts feel like.

Be patient . It may take up to a year to feel "normal" again.

Barry H. Dolich, MD
Bronx Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Change in sensation

A temporary change in sensation is normal. About 85% of patients get their normal sensation back but it may take months in some. Usually, the larger you go, the more dissection, the more the sensory nerves are affected. Some will have hypersensitivity rather than numbness.

Robin T.W. Yuan, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

It takes 6-8 weeks for things to settle down after a augmentation Mamoplasty

It is quite normal for there to be tightness, numbness and imperfect shape after augmentation mamoplasty. The tightness and shape should resolve with in 6-8 weeks. Some women who have had children are faster because they have already had their breast stretched out with their pregnancy. The numbness over the breast skin usually gets better but some times there are small areas that may persist for ever. With the nipple areolar area numbness, it too often comes back in 6-8 week but there is a small number that will not come back.

Carl W. 'Rick' Lentz III, MD
Orlando Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 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.