Ask a doctor

Will I Lose Sensation in my Breast with a Breast Lift?

I am considering a breast lift without implants. Will I lose sensation in the breast? Is there a procedure that does not cause loss of sensation?

Doctor Answers 25

Breast sensation after breast lift

Thank you for your question. With any breast surgery, there is always a risk of change in nipple sensation. Often times, these changes in sensation are transient, but unfortunately, sometimes they can be permanent. My breast lift technique aims to preserve nipple sensation and viability. I believe that a major part of breast lift should be geared towards  a functional breast. The majority of my patients retain their nipple sensation after breast lift and breast reduction.

When choosing your surgeon, please make sure you choose a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who has performed many breast lifts.

Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 117 reviews

Sensation after a breast lift

Most of my patients retain normal sensation after a breast lift but loss of sensation is definitely a risk that must be considered when having any breast surgery.  

Will I lose sensation in my breast with 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 can take up to a year for sensation to return.  It may take up to a year to regain sensation.  After that time, chances are small that it will improve.

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

Breast Lift

Any surgery entails certain risks. Breast lift surgery can alter sensation to the breast and/or nipple but it is usually temporary should it occur. Although possible, it would be very unlikely for there to be a permanent change in sensation. You should consult a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery to discuss your treatment options for a breast lift and to review the benefits as well as the risks of the surgery with you.

Bryan G. Forley, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Sensation After Breast Lift

It is common to experience numbness near the incisions with any surgery, but typically sensation returns within one year. Everyone's healing experience is different. Many patients experience no loss of sensation in the nipples or even a heightened sensitivity. It is impossible to predict the outcome of any procedure, but I typically tell my patients to weigh the risks and benefits and make an informed decision. Good luck!

Phillip Chang, MD
Leesburg Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews


The nerve input to the nipple come from 4 different areas. Although it is possible to lose sensation after a breast lift it is very unlikely

Norman Bakshandeh, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Will I lose Sensation After Breast Surgery?

There is always a chance that you can lose nipple sensation when you have breast surgery.   Keeping in mind that everyone is different and will heal at different rates, patients can experience complete or partial numbness or heightened sensation after surgery, but both usually return to normal over time.  It's rare to have permanent loss of sensation but there is no way to guarantee it.

Andrew Smith, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Breast lift and sensory issues

Some patients can lose sensation in the nipple areola after a lift or reduction. The statistics I have read report approximately 85% have normal sensation at 1 year.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Loss of sensation possible with breast surgery

Thank you for your question.  Any time one has breast surgery there is a possibility of loss of nipple sensation.  Also, you may have diminished sensation in the skin of the breast; this will recover.  Diminished nipple sensation will usually improve over time; complete loss of nipple sensation may not improve.  Fortunately, this is rare.  Hope this helps.

Tracy M. Pfeifer, MD, MS

Tracy Pfeifer, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Breast Lift and sensation

With a mastopexy there are no guarantees that you will maintain sensation in the nipple areola.  There may be up to o15% chance.  Fortunately, many times sensation returns, but again, no guarantees.



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.