Will I Definitely Lose Feeling in my Nipples After a Reduction?

I am scheduled for a consultation in a few weeks for a breast reduction. I have been doing my research and the only concern I have is loss of sensation. Is this something that is inevitable? Do I really have to give this up in order to have smaller breasts? I will go ahead because I know the pro's out weigh the cons but it all actuality it makes me sad to think about.

Doctor Answers 14

Nipple sensation after breast reduction

Loss of nipple sensation is not inevitable except with a free nipple graft (and I reserve this for patients with extremely significant ptosis or sagging--usually accompanied by huge breasts--in the F+ range). Temporary decrease in sensation is common and this abates in an overwhelming majority of patients over time. Breast reduction is a terrific operation with an extraordinarily high level of patient satisfaction because it will not only improve your cosmetic appearance but alleviate neck, back and shoulder pain and rashes under the breasts. If your breasts are only marginally larger than you'd like, then the issue of decreased sensation becomes a more significant consideration than in patients with gigantic breasts. Regardless, it's great to see a patient who is doing a lot of homework prior ot the consultation!


New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Small Percentage Of Nipple Sensation Loss After Reduction

It certainly is not inevitable that you will lose your nipple sensation with a breast reduction, unless you have a free nipple-areolar graft in which case there is always loss of sensation.  With other techniques you chance of loss of nipple sensation should be relatively low (<4-5%).  Consult a BC plastic surgeon with whom you can discuss benefits/risks.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Loss of Sensation...

Most patients who have a standard breast reduction maintain sensation as long as a free nipple graft is not performed. Loss of sensation is always a risk, but as you note, the benefits usually outweigh those risks. Good Luck!

Brian Klink, MD
Vacaville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 94 reviews

Loss of sensation

To-Date I have not seen a patient who experienced complete loss of nipple sensation.  In some instances, one or both nipples may had added sensation or may experience temporary loss but typicall during the first 3-6 mos post-op most patients will have resumed normal nipple sensation

Edward J. Bednar, MD
Charlotte Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 118 reviews

Breast Reduction and Loss of Sensation?

Thank you for the question.

Congratulations on your decision to proceed with breast reduction surgery; it is one of the most patient pleasing operations would perform.

The majority of patients who undergo breast reduction surgery will have normal sensation after the procedure. Only the  rare patient that requires “free nipple grafting” will  always have loss of sensation.

Again, most patients who present with neck/back/shoulder discomfort symptoms associated with breast hypertrophy are very pleased with the results of breast reduction surgery.

Please make sure you consult with well experienced board-certified plastic surgeons.

Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,460 reviews

Nipple Sensation Always a Concern

  • Concern over nipple sensation loss is a very big part of the decision making process with breast surgery and especially with breast reduction.  Techniques to preserve the nipple blood supply and nerve supply have become an important part of this procedure but still some patients experience loss of sensation or loss of the nipple.  The incidence is rare but 100% when it happens to you.  I understand how important nipple sensation is to a woman, or man.  I understand the problems having large breasts present as well.  The person considering the breast reduction must weigh possible problems, even with a small percentage of occurrence, with the benefits one desires.  As always it is the person doing the operation not the operation that increases the chances of a good result.  The breast reduction operation is very common and it should not be hard to find others to talk to about their operation and their experience.

John K. Long, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Nipple Sensation and Breast Reduction

Loss of Nipple Sensation is a risk with breast reduction but with some of the newer techniques such as the lollipop technique, the vast majority of my patients retain their sensation.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 150 reviews

Nipple sensation after breast reduction

Decrease in nipple sensation is possible with a breast reduction. This is often temporary, though. It is difficult to say whether this will be permanent for you.

Jerome Edelstein, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 173 reviews

Will I definitely lose feeling in my nipples after a breast reduction?

Hello! Thank you for your question! Breast procedures such as the breast lift and breast reduction certainly result in a more shapely, perky, and fuller appearance of your breasts along with raising of the nipple-areolar complex to an appropriate position. Since there is an incision made around the areola along with some rearrangement of tissue of the breast, there is a risk, albeit very small, of change in sensation to the area. The reported rate of sensation changes (decreased, loss, or increased) is ~7%. In my experience, this rate is reportedly much lower, but is higher when tissue is excised or the amount of lift that is needed, so the breast reduction procedure has a slightly greater risk. It can take up to a year for sensation to return.  It may take up to a year to regain sensation.

It is one risk of such a procedure, and one that you must consider, amongst others, as with any surgical procedure. You should consult with a plastic surgeon well-trained in breast procedures who will examine and discuss with you the various risks and benefits of the procedure(s) and assist you in deciding if such a procedure will be the right decision for you.

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Nipple sensation loss

As you mentioned in you question, benefits are more than the risks. In general after a breast reduction the chances of sensation loss immediately after surgery is around 20%, most of this patients will recover the sensation over the coming months, the rate for permanent loss of sensation is less than 5%. So most likely you will be ok after surgery.

Good luck

Victor M. Perez, MD, FACS
Kansas City Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 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.