Breast Uplift - can any method guarantee that sensation will be preserved while restoring a measure of fullness?

I am 46 and recently lost weight. I was a 36H with very large areola; my breasts were full but never "perky", I had no psych issues often associated with large breasts, and only mild physical issues; the only issue for me now is upper pole emptiness which is what I hope to fix. I have volume, so do not need/want implants, or need great perkiness. I'm most concerned about losing sensation and scarring, so would like advice re if sensation can be preserved (even if at the expense of some lift).

Doctor Answers 11

Preserving sensation with mastopexy

Scarring involves a multitude of factors including skin color. If your nipples are stretched out, then they should be reduced during surgery. Numbness in the early phases of healing may occur but, in most cases, resolves over time.  There is never a guarantee that minimizing the lift would somehow mitigate against loss of sensation. The minimal scar lifts would not be suitable for someone whose starting point was an H cup. See a board certified plastic surgeon who can examine you and offer recommendations. 

New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Breast Lift

You are a great candidate for breast lift surgery.  I recommend an in-office examination as well as a detailed discussion with a surgeon who you are comfortable with and who is a board-certified Plastic Surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Best wishes! Dr. Desai
Harvard Educated, Beverly Hills & Miami Beach Trained, Double-Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

Urmen Desai, MD, MPH, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 233 reviews

Risks of Surgery

Over time, gravity will continue to have an effect and the breast skin will tend to stretch. The degree of #stretching and #sagging varies between women: generally, women with smaller breasts experience less recurring sagging. If sagging does occur, further excision of the skin on an outpatient basis can be used to correct the problem. Heavy and large breasts may lead to recurrent sagging and may require the removal of a small amount of breast tissue to achieve an optimal shape and size. One key to a satisfying result is realistic expectations. 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.      

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 110 reviews

Loss of sensation guaranteed?

Loss of sensation in the nipple/areola is fortunately an uncommon occurrence.
In my experience, permanent loss of of sensation may be due to stretching of the sensory nerves by using very large implants causing a stretch injury or pressure on the nerves, extent of dissection which can damage the nerves, and the size of implant. I find that the location of the incision is not usually the reason for loss of sensation.
Choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon is important when considering surgery, as it will lower your chances of complications.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 157 reviews

Mastopexy scars

Thank you for your question.  Loss of nipple sensation is a potential issue with any breast surgery; however, complete loss of sensation is very rare.  A breast lift does require creating scars on the breast to remove the excess skin and reshape the breast tissue.  There are many different breast lift techniques, and I choose the technique that I feel will give each patient the optimal results.  Scarring in general has many factors that contribute to the overall result.  If you have a history of keloids or bad scarring, be sure to discuss this with your surgeon.  By  and large, scars on the breast heal very well.  Be sure the surgeon you choose addresses these issues and any other concerns you have during your consultation.

Brian A. Pinsky, MD
Long Island Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Breast lift

Hello and thank you for your question. You are likely a great candidate for a breast lift.  This can be designed to minimize scarring.  Make sure you specifically look at before and after pictures of real patients who have had this surgery performed by your surgeon and evaluate their results.  The most important aspect is to find a surgeon you are comfortable with. I recommend that you seek consultation with a qualified board-certified plastic surgeon who can evaluate you in person.

Best wishes and good luck.

Richard G. Reish, M.D.
Harvard-trained plastic surgeon

Richard G. Reish, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 131 reviews

Risks of breast lift surgery

Dear Honeyoe,
Breast lift surgery, just like any surgery, carries risks with it.  One of those risks is loss of, or diminished sensation of the nipple/areolar complex.  There is no way around that risk.  Scarring is one of the unfortunate consequences of surgery as well.  The quality of the scars is somewhat dependent on technical factors, but may be more dependent on a patient's intrinsic healing process.  You also mention upper pole "emptiness" that you wish to have filled.  Filling that "emptiness" may require the placement of implants, whether you want them or not.  Consultation with an American Board of Plastic Surgery board certified plastic surgeon can help to clarify your goals and define your options.  Good luck!

Kenneth R. Francis, MD, FACS
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Breast lift and sensation

Thank you for your question. Typically there are no guarantees in surgery, but I can tell you that all breast lift techniques are designed to preserve sensation. In the breast sensation to the nipple is supplied from the lateral aspect of the breast. As such, the dissection in that portion of the breast during surgery is minimized in order to preserve sensation. You should seek an in person consultation with an experienced plastic surgeon to discuss this in more detail. Best of luck!


There are no guarantees with cosmetic surgery - I guarantee I will do my best- but then it is up to you to do the healing, which I can  not control. A lift will raise your nipples and give you some upper pole fullness, As you age, your beasts will droop a bit. Usually nipple and breast sensation is normal after the surgery. but no one can guarantee that. We just do our best. 

William B. Rosenblatt, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Breast lift and maintaining sensation

If you have enough volume of breast tissue, then a skin only tightening can take place with no change in sensation. If you need additional volume, then an implant can be added with an extremely small chance of loss of sensitivity. Even a small reduction has only a very small chance of loss of sensation. Good luck.

Rick Rosen, MD
Norwalk Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 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.