Does Repetitive Surgery Decrease Breast Sensitivity?

What are the side effects of repetative surgery? Does it increase the risks of capsular contracture? What is the recommended maximum amount a breast surgery can be performed if things go wrong? Sorry kinda got more than one question in there but thanks :)

Doctor Answers 8

Repeat Breast Surgery

I cant give you a definitive number as far as how many breast surgeries is the limit. But each additional surgery does increase the risks. This would be all the risks. Meaning capsular contracture risk does definitely increase, especially if the surgery is for capsular contracture.

So, the issue here is that is there and absolute need for repeat surgery. Meaning is simply for going larger or is it for capsular contracture. If you dont need the surgery then dont push the envelope.

Good luck.

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

Repetitive Breast surgery decreasing breast sensitivity

I assume you are referring to breast augmentation surgery.

"What are the side effects of repetative surgery? "- Each surgery is associated with POTENTIAL risks (death, bleeding, infection etc) AND with DEFINITE consequences (scarring). The more procedures, the more scarring. While this is not a major factor in all women, it does change breast shape and the way the breast drapes over implants.

"Does it increase the risks of capsular contracture? " - We KNOW capsular contracture is associated with blood in the pocket, foreign bodies (gauze, glove starch or in the past talcum, paper from the gown, devascularized tissue) and bacteria, among others. One of the highest risks for capsule formation is a previous capsule. So - I would say that if you had surgery for a capsular contracture, there is a high likelihood you will have a recurrent capsule.

"What is the recommended maximum amount a breast surgery can be performed if things go wrong? " - No such number. Some women have multiple procedures over the years without any problems, others have complications with their first procedure. I would say though that with more procedures come more scarring and less blood flow through the breast envelope/ In turn, this raises the risks each time (for example, in doing a breast lift after one or two breast augmentation or implant exchange procedures with a removal of the capsule).

"Does Repetitive Breast surgery decrease breast sensitivity?" - as long as the surgery does not impact on the sensory nerves along the side of the breast and the implant does not impinge on them, loss of sensation is not a major problem. But - this does not always happen and loss of sensation with first breast augmentation can reach 15%.

Hope this was helpful.

Dr. Peter Aldea

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 108 reviews

The answer varies


Plastic surgery is an interface between art and science, so there are few absolute answers. We do know that repeated surgery on breasts can decrease sensitivity as more and more breast tissue can be replaced by scar tissue. This is a tendency though and not a definite. There is no "number" of operations that you can avoid to avoid the problem entirely.

Capsular contracture is one result of the scarring around the implants in many cases. It can be increased by genetic tendencies, silicone gel implants, larger implants, radiation treatment and cigarette smoking.

These are amongst the reasons that breast implant surgery is best performed by experienced well-trained individuals to try to minimize these risks where possible.

John P. Di Saia, MD
Orange Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Repeat Surgery and Risks

Thank you for the question.

There is no “recommended maximum amount of breast surgery that can be performed”. Repeat surgery may, it does not necessarily, decreased breast sensitivity. This depends mostly on trauma to the sensory nerves that I supplied from the outside of the breasts.

The risk of  capsular contracture  exists every time  the breast  Implant is exposed with additional surgery.

A good rule of thumb may be to avoid  additional breast surgery unless It becomes absolutely necessary.

I hope this helps.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,488 reviews

Loss of sensation and multiple breast implant revision surgery

There is no definitive answer to this. In general, the more you risk, the greater the potential for injjuring a nerve that could effect akin and/orvnipple sensation. However, I have had patients on whom I have operated who have had return of previously diminished sensation.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

No definite answer


Thank you for your question.

There is no definite answer in terms of the amount of times that breast surgery can be performed. However, with every surgery you are at a greater risk for complications. This includes infection, pain, reaction to anesthesia, numbness, capsular contracture, leakage, scarring, etc. The more scarring, and the more times you are potentially exposed to things like bacteria, the greater your risk is for capsular contracture.

As far as sensitivity, it does not necessarily decrease it but it can. However, the more surgeries you have and the more breast tissue you lose and scar tissue you gain, the greater chance you have of losing sensitivity. Also, if any nerves are damaged, you could lose sensitivity as well.

Some patients have multiple surgeries with no complications. Others, especially those who had complications with previous surgeries are more likely to have complications with each additional surgery. It is important to determine whether another surgery is necessary and weigh that against the risk. As always, you should consult a board-certified plastic surgeon.

Best regards,

Dr. Speron

Sam Speron, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

It's possible

What's more important than the risk of nipple sensitivity loss is the risk of nipple, areolar or other tissue loss. Repeated breast surgery disrupts the blood supply to the tissues each time. With this the risk of tissue loss is dramatically increased with each surgery.

Although there is a risk of changes in sensation, the risk is minimized if it is only an exchange of implants or surgery that doesn't involve more tissue dissection. There's no magic number of surgeries that the breasts can tolerate. It's different for everyone. Your surgeon must be very cautious.

Christopher L. Hess, MD
Fairfax Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Repetitive breast surgery

Repetitive breast surgery can certainly increase the complications. In terms of sensitivity I know of no study that specifically looked at this. As for other complications, I think that the reasons for multiple procedures most likely resulted form dissatisfaction or complications from prior surgery so it would be hard to differentiate this from say patients that just want constant changes. Certainly, more surgery leads to more scarring, and potentially more problems of thins tissues, decreased vascularity , etc..

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 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.