Breast Lift Operation 17 Months Ago: Scarring, Tender, Pain

While I am very happy with the shape and size of my breasts, they are still very tender to touch and the pain is coming both from within (glands) and outside, where the skin is tender. The nipple still hasn't returned to its' former sensitivity. Is this normal?

Doctor Answers 5

Breast Tenderness After Breast Lift

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

It is not typical to still have significant breast tenderness 17 months after a breast lift only. With some types of breast lifts or reductions it is possible to have deep collections or fat necrosis that can cause tenderness after surgery. It would be unusual for this to occur in both breasts. It could be something completely unrelated to the surgery that is causing deep tenderness in the glandular tissue. It is also unusual for the breast skin to be tender after surgery. The scars themselves may remain tender for 6 months to a year after, but this should gradually improve unless the scars are hypertrophic or keloid type scars. The nipple should not substantially lose sensitivity after a breast lift. This complication is more of a risk with breast augmentation or reduction where the dissection occurs in the area of the main sensory nerve branches against the chest wall along the side of the breast. If there is diminished sensitivity of the nipple after surgery, it should return to normal. If sensation is completely lost and has not recovered so long after surgery, the deficit will likely be permanent.

Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Post-Operative Breast Lift

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

 I would need to examine you before I can begin to answer this question. I would suggest that you consult with your original surgeon. Upon examination he/she should be able to provide you with answers and recommend options. Best wishes!

Christine Sullivan, MD
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Pain and scarring

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Scarring around the incisions that are hypertrophic may lead to pain. Nipple sensation may not be normal after surgery.  An exam would be helpful to evaluate your pain.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Pain in skin and breasts 17 months post mastopexy

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Are your scars red? Raised? If so, this would represent hypertophic scar formation which at this point can be addressed with meticulous scar revision followed up with silicone gel sheeting postoperatively. The other option would be to try several months of silicone gel sheeting first.

Desensitization exercises sometimes can be effective. However, without photos and exact delineation of your pain it would be difficult to predict the effectiveness of this.

Steven Turkeltaub, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Sensitive scars following breast lift

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

If you are having sensitivity 17 months following surgery, then I would say that you have some hypersensitivity to your scars.  This can happy following any surgery but is more common in more sensitive areas such as around the nipple and the hand.  You need to try to desensitise your scars by regular stimulation and massage, this will help to reprogram the brain that it is responding in an abnormal way to light touch. 

If can take a long time for nipple sensation to return, although if it has not improved by 17 months, it may be a permanent situation.

I definitely think that you should be discussing these problems with your surgeon.

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.