Why is the Skin on my Breasts and my Nipples So Tender After my Breast Augmentation?

I had a breast augmentation 2 weeks ago. (Inframammary incision, sub glandular, silicone, 375cc) They look great and soreness is minimal but my skin is tender and my nipples hurt. It feels like the pain in when you are first starting to nurse a baby. I hate to touch them because it almost burns but I have to in order to do my exercises. Is this normal or should I be concerned? Is it from the stretching? How long will this last? Help!

Doctor Answers 13

Nipple and skin sensitivity after breast augmentation

The nerve to your nipple is the 4th intercostal nerve. It is a unique nerve supplying sensual sensation. The remainder of your skin is supplied by standard sensory nerves. However all nerves are simply living electrical wires and these living "wires" have insulation around them called myelin. This myelin layer can often disappear if it is stretched or traumatized, which can be expected after breast augmentation. Sometimes this change in the insulation layer can cause decreased sensation(numbness), but often it causes hypersensitivity. (increased sensitivity) These nerves with no insulation resemble  "raw wires" which can explain this hypersensitivity. 

Fortunately any decreased or increased sensation will usually normalize fairly quickly over the first few weeks as the myelin layer returns. 

Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Hypersensitivity after breast implants not uncommon

Nipples may be very sensitive after breast augmentation through any of the available incisions.

Nipple sensitivity after BA is due to the nerves stretching around the implant.  It is a temporary condition.  In my practice:

  1. Nipple sensitivity is more common in young women who are a B cup and increase by approximately one cup
  2. It is most likely to resolve within two months
  3. Can be improved with a short course of anti-inflammatory meds and high dose vitamin E

Mario Diana, MD
Plano Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Why is the skin on my breasts and my nipples so tender after my breast augmentation?

Hello! Thank you for your question! 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.  The sensation that you describe is likely your nerves regenerating.  Try different textures when showering and putting on lotion to re-educate the nerves. 

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

Skin and nipple sensitivity

Dear JB,
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 36 reviews

Nipple sensitivity after breast augmentation

Changes in sensation are very common following breast augmentation, and these are almost always temporary. It will most likely ease in time. Gauze is great to keep your nipples protected during this time. 

Nipple Sensitivity after Breast Augmentation

Nipple hypersensitivity after breast augmentation is very common. This is caused by the stretching of nerves supplying the nipples.  This will usually resolve within several months as the swelling diminishes. Wearing a thin shirt or nursing pads under your bra can provide some relief.

Scott Farber, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Tenderness after breast augmentation

Uusally two weeks after breast augmetnation surgery, patient's can have some hypersensitivity as the swelling goes down and the sensory nerves get back to normal.  If the breast is very red then that could be a sign of infection and cause sensitivity as well.

Steven Wallach, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Why is the Skin on my Breasts and my Nipples So Tender After my Breast Augmentation?

Your tenderness is due to your sensory nerves recovering from the surgical procedure.

It seems that very few women are at all concerned about loss of sensation after surgery, but most will complain if they have hypersensitivity.

This is what you need to do: find the areas that are the most sensitive and rub frequently. Pinch your nipples if they are sore. While this is very unpleasant at first, you will find that the discomfort rapidly diminishes PROVIDED that you do these exercises frequently throughout the day.

Good luck!

Eric Pugash, MD
Vancouver Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 78 reviews

Nipple hypersensitivity is common after breast augmentation

Studies have shown that loss of sensation to the nipples happens in about %15 of breast augmentation procedures but hypersensitivity is more common than that.  It is felt to be due to pressure or stretching of the nerves that provide sensation to the  nipples either from the implants themselves or due to minor injury to the nerves during surgery.  In the majority of cases, it resolves on its own over time and there isn't much that can be done to speed up the process.  Some patients find it helpful to cover their nipples with a greasy ointment such as an antibiotic ointment and a band aid during the day so their clothes don't rub on them.

James McMahan, MD
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Skin sensitivity after breast augmentation

Many will experience hypersensitivity of the nipple or breast skin early after breast augmentation due to the stretch and irritation of the breast tissue and nerves within. Good support will reduce the irritation, and gentle massage of the skin and nipple may reduce the discomfort as the tissue recovers. The issue passes the first month or two.

Best of luck,


Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 34 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.