Is it possible to gain your sensation back in your nipples after you have lost it?

I decided to get a breast lift. In order to keep my size I decided to get implants of the smallest size with my lift. I'm happy with the results, but I lost of sensation in my nipples. Is it at all possible to regain sensation in your nipples? I am 4 years post-surgery and I have feeling in my nipples towards pain but not sensation. I can't feel touch or suction. I've even considered getting my implants removed and maybe that will restore my sensation. Is that possible?

Doctor Answers 7


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I appreciate your question.

I perform a liposuction breast lift that removes tissue from the areas you don't want such as near the armpit and the lower portion hanging near your stomach. Once I use this to shape the breast I then remove the skin to tighten the breast and create a better shape with nice cleavage. Since I perform this less invasively the recovery time is faster. The size would depend on the proportion with your body versus going for a cup size. It works very well if there are asymmetries. I can also use the removed fat as a natural breast augmentation by grafting the fat back into the breast to create more projection or into the top to create more cleavage. This procedure can also be combined with an implant if needed or wanted.  It should not affect nipple sensation, mammograms, cancer risk or breast-feeding. If you gain or lose weight, the transferred fat can do the same.

After 4 years it is rare for nerve sensation to come back.

The best way to assess and give true advice would be an in-person exam.  Please see a board-certified plastic surgeon that specializes in aesthetic plastic surgery.  

Best of luck!    

Dr. Schwartz 

Board Certified Plastic Surgeon



Is low but there will be some improvement

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After 4 years the likelihood of return of nipple sensation is low but there will be some improvement.  Removal of the implant will most likely not result in any significant changes.  The loss of nipple sensation may have to do with the left as well so there was a chance of altered nipple sensation after a lift alone.

Vijay K. Bindingnavele, MD, FACS
Corpus Christi Plastic Surgeon

Change of Sensation

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All surgical procedures carry some degree of risk. Any breast operation can result in changes in sensation. This happens less with lifts than reductions but is still possible. Occasionally, minor complications occur and do not affect the surgical outcome. Major complications associated with this procedure are rare. The suitability of the breast lift procedure and specific risks may be determined during your consultation. 

Now, there may be multiple methods to help regain normal sensation, even after the length of time since your procedure. It may be a good idea to return to your same plastic surgeon to have the area examined and find out what the best method would be to help. Good luck to you!

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

Nipple sensation

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Hello and thank you for your question. After undergoing a breast lift along with implants there is a risk that a change or a loss in nipple sensation can occur. Many times, the change in sensation returns to normal over a span of 6 months to a year. If after a year there is no improvement occurring then this usually means that no further improvement will occur. At 4 years out I don't think your sensation will return and I don't think taking out your implant will help with return of sensation. I hope this answers your question and its great that you are happy with your aesthetic results!

Ankur Mehta MD

Ankur Mehta, MD
Sugar Land Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Is it possible to gain your sensation back in your nipples after you have lost it?

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Hello dear, thanks for your post. Any type of breast lift involves incisions, and incisions can sever sensory nerves. Nipple/areola sensation is generally provided via the 4th lateral intercostal nerve ), which courses along the lateral chest wall where it enters the breast and has terminal branches in the nipple area. Since these nerves are not in or immediately beneath the skin, skin-only incisions should theoretically preserve sensation. However, the surgical reality is that incisions are slightly below the skin, in the subcutaneous fat layer, and can damage or sever the nerve or its branches, causing temporary or permanent numbness. The time is something that we can not tell, each patient and each body is different. Good luck :)

Tania Medina de Garcia, MD
Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 442 reviews

Nipple sensation loss

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Thanks for your inquiry and it is unlikely you will get sensation back four years out.  I also do not think removing your implants will change anything as well.  Glad to hear you are happy with the aesthetics of your result.  

Changes in nipple sensation after surgery

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Temporary changes in nipple sensation after surgery are fairly common, about 1/7 patients.  Sometimes the nipples become more sensitive and sometimes less.  Most of the time, the sensation has returned to normal within three months.  If your sensation hasn't returned to normal or improved in four years, it is unlikely that it will at this time.  I have not found that removing implants can improve this.

Samuel Beran, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 8 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.