How Big is "Too Big", Regarding Loss of Nipple Sensation?

I understand that the size of the implant used can increase risk of loss of nipple sensation, and that this has something to do with the width of the implant as well. Is it more about the width or the volume of the implant,and would a higher-profile implant solve the problem of the implant being too wide? Is a high-profile silicone gel 550-cc implant considered "extremely large"?

Doctor Answers 4

Nipple Sensation and Breast Augmentation

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As others have said, there is not just one generic answer. It all depends on your individual anatomy and goals. There have been studies that have looked and nipple sensation and breast augmentation and the results appear to indicate that the main factor that can predict nipple sensation disturbance is implant size/volume rather than incisonal approach. Those studies point at a cutoff around 450cc. That said, volume is not the only variable to be concerned about as the dimensions of the implant likely play a more important role.  Again, it all seems to come back to a balance between your anatomy and your desires. 

New Jersey Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Nipple Sensability and Breast Augmentation

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There is no implant volume or profile that will suddenly increase the risk of numbness, or any other problem like capsular contracture, the most common complication.  It's a matter of choosing the right implant for you anatomy, and virtually every surgeon knows about these very simple measurement systems to determine the most appropriate implant for your body.  The problem is that surgeons would rather give the patient the size they requested, at the risk of causing complications, rather than say 'no'.  The assumption is that they will just go next door to a surgeon who will give them the size they want, so why not just do it yourself.  This is why the national complication rate for the first three years after breast augmentation is an astounding 25%.  It can easily be 2.5%

A 550 cc high profile implant for many people is an implement of destruction, causing irreparable damage to the breast skin, tissue, and rib cage.  For others, it serves their purposes well.  However, even in those that are reasonably happy, they are more likely to require revisions in the first few years.

Visit a few surgeons certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and who are members of the American Society for Plastic Surgery.  They should specialize in breast augmentation.  Although you should be clear in communication your goals in terms of appearance or size, you should also be concerned about what size impant is best for you in terms of minimizing risk of complications.

Best of luck!

Gerald Minniti, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 100 reviews

Implant size and loss of nipple sensation

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First you need to realize that any type of breast surgery, including a minor breast biopsy can result in loss of nipple sensation. The bigger the surgery the higher the possibility in general. The chances presumably increase with implant size due to the increasing space required for the implant, especially the width.

John P. Stratis, MD
Harrisburg Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Changes in nipple sensation with Breast Augmentation

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Many women notice some change in their nipple sensation after breast augmentation, but it is usually temporary. There can be permanent changes, including loss of sensation. Fortunately, this is rare and is not directly attributable to implant size. You should work with your surgeon to choose an implant that fits within your native breast and meets you aesthetic goals. That size will vary from person to person depending on their chest width and tastes.

Lawrence Iteld, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 48 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.