Will removing my breast implants return my breast and nipple sensation?

I had breast augmentation done in 2002. My nipples and most of my breasts are still numb. Will I get feeling back if I have them removed or is my feeling just permanently gone? The incisions were under the breast and the implants were placed under the muscle.

Doctor Answers 7

Will removing my breast implants return my breast and nipple sensation?

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Most often sensation does not return after breast implant removal; occasionally (when the numbness is caused by stretching of the nerves involved), some return of sensation can be experienced.  Make your decisions carefully when it comes to breast implant removal surgery. Best wishes.

Nipple sensation

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If you have not had nipple sensation since 2002 then it is unlikely that your sensation will improve at this point.  Good luck.

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

Sensation return after explantation

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In my experience with several thousand explantation, sensation can return after removal of implants that are stretching out the 4th intercostal nerve.  If your lack of sensation is due to actual nerve injury (rare on both sides) then it may be possible to repair the nerve during explantation.  In any case, total removal of the capsule is important to prevent future complications.

Susan Kolb, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

#Explant #BreastImplantRemoval - Will removing my breast implants return my breast and nipple sensation?

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Maybe, but you shouldn't count on it.
There are cases when the diminished sensation is due to the stretching of the nerves and so removing the implants can lessen that tension.  It is not uncommon to hear that breast reduction patients have more nipple sensation after the surgery than they had before (though the reverse can happen, and is a well-known consequence of that surgery).
If you want the implants out for several reasons, and you get a return of sensation then that should be viewed as an unexpected benefit.  If you want the implants out solely or primarily to affect the sensation, then it is probably not a good indication for the surgery.
You should of course discuss this in person with your own plastic surgeon.
I hope that this helps and good luck,
Dr. Alan EnglerMember of #RealSelf500

Numb breast and nipple

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It is impossible to know with certainty whether the sensation to your nipples and breast will return with implant removal. The lack of sensation is an issue with your sensory nerves and these typically have a greater capacity to recover after longer delays of not working than motor nerves  (nerves that cause movement). Removing the implants may unload strain on the nerves and this may, eventually lead to recovery of some feeling. Even women who have had nipple-sparing mastectomies (breast removal) with breast reconstruction (with implants) often regain some sensation. However, there may be other factors impacting your lack of sensation. Nobody can say with 100% certainty whether sensation will or will not return and the only test to see would be to actually have implants, and surrounding scar or capsule removed, and then to give some time (months or more) to see if sensation recovered.

Dr Kayser

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thank you for your question. Removal of the implants will likely not restore sensation since this occurred as a result of nerve injury from the original procedure. Also be aware that since the skin has been stretched over time, removal of the implants will cause the breast to deflate resulting in a loose skin envelope that could be droopy. Should you require additional volume the use of fat transfer could help , but you also may require a breast lift as well. I would recommend a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon who is experienced in these matters. I hope this helps and have a wonderful day. Dr. Kaiser - Detroit.

Melek Kayser, MD
Detroit Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Nipple sensation

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If wanting better nipple sensation is the only reason you are removing the implants, I would caution you that the decreased sensation may not change. It is not entirely predictable, so it's really a hard question to answer. It is possible that it may improve, but you would only know by actually doing it. Generally speaking, the inframammary approach (incision along the fold under the breast), and placement under the muscle, is considered the safest approach to avoid nipple sensation changing, but it can still happen.

Anita Patel, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 12 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.