Breast Numbness 6 Months After Augmentation

I had a breast augmentation (saline under muscle, crease incision) 6 1/2 months ago. I have complete numbness in about 70% of my breasts and the remaining skin has greatly decreased sensation. There has been no improvement in sensation or tingling etc. since day one post-op. What are my chances of getting sensation back to my breast tissue? Going into this procedure, I was only warned of potential nipple numbness. This has caused incredible depression and regret for ever getting implants.

Doctor Answers 5

Numb nipple

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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. The Peri-areolar incision is associated with increased risk of nipple numbness due to the fact that the nerve is in close proximity.
Best Wishes,
Pablo Prichard, MD

Sensory changes

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Usually those patients that have sensory loss do not lose sensation in 70% of their breast. However, it is only six months and it may get better.

Breast augmentation

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Numbness of that much of breast skin is indeed rare.  It is possible that the skin will regain sensation, but this could take as long as 1 1/2 years to 2 years post-op.  Good luck!

Loss of sensation after breast implant surgery

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This is very unfortunate and I am sad to hear this. It certainly does not happen that often and typically the vast majority of sensation returns by 6 months with some taking up to 18 months. Having said that, I am not quite sure on how to advise you. There is no guarantee that removing the implants could improve the sensation.

Sensation Loss RARE, But Can Happen

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The rates of permanent sensation loss after a breast augmentation really should be less than 0.1%.  Some women can have numbness in the lower portion of the breasts for a few months, but eventually it should return to normal.  I have never had a patient lose sensation, since when done correctly, those nerves should not be in danger throughout the surgery.  But they do get stretched, and that in itself can make them act strange for a while.  It can take up to two years for nerve damage to return, so just be patient and give it time.  Hoepfully you will wake up one day and relize that you are feeling more and more.  I hope this helps.

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.