Breast Numbness?

How common is it to permanently lose sensation of the actual breast. I just recently under went a breast augmentation. I'm about 10 days post-op and the side of my right breast as well as part of the front of it is numb. Now I know this could be because I just had surgery. But is there a possibility that the sensation to touch may not return? and if so, what is the probability? I have feeling in both of my nipples. And i went sub-muscular thru the armpit! Thank you :)

Doctor Answers 7

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

Changes in Sensation After Breast Augmentation

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It is very common for numbness to occur, and it is usually temporary. The risk of permanent numbness is very, very low. It could take a few months for sensation to return.

Nipple sensation loss

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Although the risk of permanent sensation loss is very low, it is possible to see temporary sensation changes that take 3-6 months to return.   I typically warn patients that the larger the implant that is placed, the higher the risk of sensation changes.     This is because the sensory nerve to the nipple and areola will be stretched by the implant.    The good news is that most cases stretch injury to the nerve results are temporary.

I wish you a safe and healthy recovery.

Paul S. Gill, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon


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In our practice we have not had a patient that loses complete sensation permanently. It can last up to 2 years for you to go back to normal. It is very normal, there is a possibility you won’t get it back but it would be hard to tell without knowing your situation

Stuart B. Kincaid, MD, FACS (in memoriam)
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon

Numbness after breast augmentation is common

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Thank you for your question. It is common for much of the skin on the breast to be numb after breast augmentation and most, if not all of it should resolve over weeks to months. The fact that you have sensation to both of your nipples is a good sign.  Permanent numbness to the nipple area occurs in about 15% of breast augmentation patients. There is nothing that you can do to speed up the process; just be patient.

Numbness after breast surgery

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I would say that the majority of our breast augmentation patients have some degree of early nipple or breast skin numbness that can last several weeks.  Almost all of them have their sensation return.  Have never had anyone with permanent nipple numbness, but a few with small areas of skin numbness, usually in the lower part of their breast.  Wait several months as your feeling should return.

Leonard T. Yu, MD
Maui Plastic Surgeon

Breast Numbness Permanent after Breast Augmentation?

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Permanent loss of sensation along breast skin skin is a possibility after breast augmentation surgery, regardless of the approach used to perform the breast surgery,  and despite best efforts.

However, given that you are only 10 days out of the procedure, and do have sensation of both nipple/areola complexes,  I think the odds are in your favor that you will have return ( possibly very slow) of the sensation along the breast skin. Unfortunately, only time will tell (no one will be able to predict for sure).

 Best wishes.

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.