Nipple Numbness After Breast Implants (photo)

I had breast implants (over the muscle) 5.5 months ago. One of my breasts is absolutely fine. With the other, I have sensation to the outer / upper / lower part, but my nipple and about 2 inches around it is numb. Do you think there is a chance this will not be permanent? I've read after 1 year it's likely to be permanent? My surgeon said it's because maybe one of the nerves got severed and has not grown back. He also said that it could take 2 years. Can it be corrected?

Doctor Answers (9)

Wait one year for nipple sensation to return after breast augmentation

+2

Statistically, about 5% of patients have loss of sensation after breast implant surgery. Nerve regeneration can take up to two years, however by one year most of the sensation should come back.

The encouraging thing for you is that sensation is returning to the outside of the nipple areola.

The nerve that suppies the nipple comes in from the side, so if this nerve was cut I would expect that your sensation would be gone on the side of the nipple towards your arm.

Because of this I expect the rest of the nipple to regain sensation over the next year.

There are nerves that emerge from your sternum-the breast bone that probably explain your numbness as these are often injured and leave the inside of the breast numb, but sensation usually returns.

Surgical nerve repair would not be feasible in most situations.


Boston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Nipple numbness after breast implants?

+1
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 12 reviews

Nipple Numbness?

+1
Dear Emily,
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. 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.
Best Wishes,
Pablo Prichard, MD

Pablo Prichard, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

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Nipple Numbness

+1

Although the risk of permanent sensation loss is very low, it is possible to see temporary sensation changes that take up to 12 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 wish you a safe and healthy recovery.

Paul S. Gill, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Nipple numbness after breast implants very, very rare.

+1

Hi.

Hopefully, the sensory nerves were just stretched or bruised when the breast implants were put in, and feeling will come back. Numbness after 18 months is probably permanent, and cannot be repaired.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Nipple numbness

+1

Numbness of the nipple after a breast augmentation can happen. It is thought that this may be mainly dues to stretching with larger implants. Some patiens have permanent sensory changes and maybe even complete loss, but you need to wait about a year to see if it improves.

Steven Wallach, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Give breast implants time

+1

Hello,

I am sorry that you are experiencing this rare complication of breast augmentation. Nerve regeneration after injury can take a year or more, so give it time. These nerves are too small to find and repair, so time is definitely your friend here. Good luck.

John P. Di Saia, MD
Orange Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Time is your friend here

+1

It will take 1-2 years or maybe even more to know exactly how much sensory recovery you will have. Massage, B complex vitamines and time are your best friends.

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Nipple sensation at risk

+1

Emily,
Loss of nipple sensation is indeed a risk of breast augmentation surgery. Although the risk of permanent loss is small, it does occur. At 5.5 months there is still time for some return. In fact, sensation may improve for a year or more. Unfortunately, the nerves to the nipple are too small to be amenable to repair. Good luck!

Kenneth R. Francis, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 32 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.