Nerve damage - what do I do? (Photo)

I had a breast augmentation 17 years ago. To this day, I still have little feeling in my breasts (not just my nipples, but my entire breasts). I have pain regularly and was recently diagnosed with peripheral nueropathy at the age of 40. I think it's obvious my doctor damaged or even cut a major nerve. What do I do???

Doctor Answers 5

Nerve Pain After Breast Augmentation

Dear smatthews1497,
I am sorry to hear the troubles you have experienced.  Usually after a year or so, if sensation to the breasts have not returned, it is unlikely to come back.

Sensory changes, from slight to total sensory loss, can occur with ANY breast surgery.  A few years back, a study looked at the patterns of how the nerves that give sensation to the breast enter into the tissue.  There is no single nerve that gives sensation to the breast but instead a number of nerves that do so.  While the majority of the nerves tend to enter within a certain region of the breast, in a surprisingly number of women, they do not but instead enter the breast in a more random, scattered pattern.  This means there is always a risk these nerves can be injured no matter which incision is used.  There are well documented cases of loss of sensation with incisions as small as a breast biopsy.  Also, because these nerves are so small and random, nerve repair cannot be performed with any expected result.  However, because there are so many nerves providing sensation to the breasts, this is also why it is uncommon for a total loss of sensation to occur with any single surgery.

The causes for peripheral neuropathy are many and this is an issue best addressed by your neurologist who can based on your findings, select the treatment best for you.

Again, I am sorry you are having the health issues you are.  I wish you the best of luck.

Saint Louis Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 68 reviews

Nerve damage - what do I do?

As my colleagues have mentioned, sensory changes can unfortunately occur with any type of breast surgery. The causes of peripheral neuropathy are many and best diagnosed and treated by a neurologist. Hope this helps!

Nerve Damage?


I'm sorry to hear about your situation. When nerve function has not returned after a year it does not typically do so. I recommend that you follow up in person with your primary care physician or Plastic Surgeon.

All the best

Breast Augmentation: Loss of sensation

I am sorry that you are going through this time. Breast implants 17 years ago are different than they are today. Breast augmentation can alter some sensation and so can the peripheral neuropathy. We do not have one nerve going to the breast we all have many nerves providing sensation to the breast. Please se your board certified plastic surgeon for follow as she/he may be able to provide answers. I wish you well.

Breast augmentation - loss of feeling and now have peripheral neuropathy

Thank you for your question about your breast augmentation.
  • I am so sorry this has happened -
  • It is a complex situation 
  • Permanent changes in feeling or loss of feeling can occur after any breast surgery.
  • The cause and site of your peripheral neuropathy is not clear.
  • Please discuss your concerns with your neurologist and with a plastic surgeon. 
  • Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.
Best wishes. Elizabeth Morgan MD PHD FACS

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.