Gradual Loss of Nipple Sensation over Years, Complete Loss Now. Can I Get It Back?

I pierced my nipples in 2004 or 2005 without any complications or lessened sensitivity (took out years ago though) and a breast augmentation in 2006, also without complication or loss of sensitivity. However, about 3-4 years ago I began to lose sensitivity and am almost completely numb aside from being able to feel extreme pain when pinched. Is there anyway I can get the sensitivity in my nipples back??

Doctor Answers 10

See your doctor

You should see your doctor about this as it is unusual. There may be some pressure on your nerves that is causing this.

Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 176 reviews

Loss of sensativity

Dear WWW,
thank you for your post.  Certianly this is uncommon.  This may be related to pressure on the nerve by the implants or a capsular contraction that may be commpressing the nerve.  Be seen by your PS.  repositioning of the implant may or may not help, as well as capsulotomy.
Best wishes, 
Pablo Prichard, MD

Pablo Prichard, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

Gradual Loss of Nipple Sensation over Years, Complete Loss Now. Can I Get It Back?

It is not normal to lose sensation this far out. What I don't know about your case is how large your implants are and how big your breasts are. One phenomenon we see in our patients who desire a breast reduction is decreased sensation or numb nipples. When the breasts are extremely large the weight can stretch the nerves that supply nipple sensation. Sometimes after a reduction I have patients who get return in sensation but most stay the same or get worse. So If you have very large breasts this could be from stretch of those nerves. If it is not due to that then I would say your sensation will not return. Nipple rings should have no affect on your sensation like this. You should see your surgeon who placed your implants or a general surgeon who is a breast surgeon to explore this.

Richard J. Brown, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 49 reviews


Loosing sensation 4 years later does not sound normal. You should be seen by your surgeon or a primary doctor to see what happened.

Stuart B. Kincaid, MD, FACS (in memoriam)
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
3.3 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Gradual loss of nipple sensation

Gradual loss of nipple sensation years after a breast augmentation is very unusual.  I do not think that sensation will come back if this was over a long period of time.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

The Gradual Loss of Nipple Sensation over years after Augmentation Mammoplasty

The history of a gradual bilateral loss of nipple sensation years after augmentation is very uncommon.  If you had given a history of loss of sensation on one side then the possibility of an entrapped nerve should be intertained.  With your history I will try to give you the possbile causes of your nipple sensation loss:

  • If your augmentation was overly large then one must consider the fact that the weight of the augmented breast may have gradually stretched the nerves causing a loss of sensation. This is commonly seen in women with extremely large breasts.  
  • Another possible cause could be a systemic medical condition such as Diabetes which could effect sensation. If this was indeed the cause, then you might also notice a reduction in sensation in your extremities.
  • Lastly you may have slowly developed a scar contracture around your implants. The presence of this scar could cause an intrapment of the nerve to the nipple and secondarily lead to decreasing the sensation to your breasts.

Either way a detailed examination would be required to ascertain the degree and extent of the decreased sensation. The findings of the exam could shed some light as to the cause of your problem.

Joseph Rucker, MD, FACS
Eau Claire Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Gradual Loss Of Nipple Sensation

    Your presentation of gradual loss of sensitivity in your nipples is not a common one. We would have expected sensation to be loss immediately after your piercings or immediately after your augmentation. You may have developed an entrapment of your nerves in an unusual capsule or perhaps a traction type nerve injury if the breasts and implants have become pendulous. I would start with a follow up visit with your original surgeon or another board certified surgeon in your area. If you need further evaluation, then get a referral to a neurologist. Either way, it may be difficult to reverse this situation. Good luck.

Douglas L. Gervais, MD
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 175 reviews

Loss of nipple sensation

The  gradual loss of sensation over time is unusual and not likely to be caused by the breast augmentation, unless it is an unusual presentation of a capsular contracture. Your symptoms are not common and I don't know of any easy fixes myself. I would recommend consultation with a neurologist. Unfortunately, I would guess that your symptoms will be difficult to reverse. 

Wm. Todd Stoeckel, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 84 reviews

Loss of Nipple Sensation over Years

It is hard to know whether either of your breast interventions could have played a roll in loss of sensitivity, it seems unlikely given the time course. It also seems very unlikely that sensation will return.

Start with your primary physician or a neurologist to  look for possible cause and treatment.

Best wishes. 


Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Numbness after breast augmentation

You may have some entrapped nerves.  I would recommend seeing Dr. Eric Williams in Baltimore, Maryland.  He is a peripheral nerve specialist.

Jeffrey E. Schreiber, MD, FACS
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 201 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.