Pain and Extreme Sensitivity 3 1/2 Years After Breast Augmentation?

I had my breast augmentation 3 1/2 years ago - under the muscle saline 375cc's. I have had throbbing pain across my breasts on and off since I have had them done and extreme nipple sensitivity. More on my right than my left. It is quite uncomfortable at times. I am wondering if this is normal and something that will never go away? I keep thinking it should get better then it happens again. Thanks for your time.

Doctor Answers (9)

Pain and extremem sensitivity 3.5 yrs after breast augmentation?

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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.  You are very remote from your procedure - you should discuss this with your surgeon and/or primary care.  Consideration for downsizing or explantation should be discussed if the pain is that significant.

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.


Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Extreme nipple sensativity

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Dear Dancer,
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.  In your case with quite prolonged sensitivity, it could be that a capsule has developed and wrapped around the nerve compressing it.  This may be relieved with a capsulotomy.
Best Wishes,
Pablo Prichard, MD

Pablo Prichard, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Pain 3 Years After Breast Augmentation?

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Thank you for the question.

You should be seen by your plastic surgeon to rule out issues such as encapsulation and/or breast implant displacement and/or neuroma.

Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 710 reviews

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Pain after breast augmentation

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It s unusual for someone to have pain and nipple sensitivity so long after breast augmentation. I suggest that you see the plastic surgeon who performed your surgery for an evaluation. There may be several causes of pain and sensitivity; for example, you may have formed a capsule that is causing pain and irritating the nerves that supply your nipple. A thorough history and physical examination should help your doctor to devise a plan to help you find relief. If the pain is severe, persists and does not respond to treatment, you may consider removing your implants in an effort to relieve your symptoms. 

David Greenspun, MD, MSc
New York Plastic Surgeon

Breast augmentation

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Any pain more than several weeks is too long following breast augmentation.  As stated by others, a nerve may be stretched, or a neuroma, or a thickened capsule (capsular contracture).  A visit to your plastic surgeon and a possible capsulectomy or exploration may be a possibility.

Shahin Javaheri, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
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Chronic pain of breast radiating to nipples.

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IF you pain has persisted for more than 3.5 years, I doubt that it will resolve at this point in time. The most likely cause is stretching or distention of the nerves to the nipple., In some instances a supportive bra can be quite helprul in alleaviating this discomfort. It may be an indication of other underlying conditions and should be evaluated. Timely mammograms are also essential.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
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Chronic pain and nipple sensitivity after breast augmentation

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Nipple sensitivity is common following breast augmentation, particularly in subglandular (on top of the muscle) implants. To have continuous pain radiating in the breast is abnormal. Many reasons can cause this from capsular contracture, nerve damage (neuromas), or changes in breast fullness with hormonal fluctuations. I would recommend a consult with your plastic surgeon for a full evaluation. Although the nipple sensitivity and the soreness seem related as they are both sensory changes, they may be two completely separate issues.

David Bogue, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
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I think it would be best to schedule a consultation with your surgeon so that they can assess the area to see particularly wheth

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Thank you for your enquiry, it is unusual for you to have a stroking pain in your breast 3 and a half years following surgery and at this stage it may not get better with time.

I think it would be best to schedule a consultation with your surgeon so that they can assess the area to see particularly whether you are developing capsules which can cause these types of symptoms.

I wish you the best of luck with this consultation.

Adrian Richards, MD
London Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Pain and sensitivity a long time after breast implants

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For you to have pain and sensitivity three and one-half years after breast augmentation is a unusual. I would recommend seeing a plastic surgeon to be evaluated first.  You may eventually need to see a pain specialist.

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