I had breast augmentation 2 weeks ago, and my nipples and a large part of my breasts are numb. Is this normal, and will it go away? I started as a 34A, and had 375 cc's, putting me currently in the C-D range. I'm about 5'5", 120 lbs, light frame. My skin feels really tight, like it still hasn't stretched enough, and sometimes I feel like I have a tiny bit of heat rash on them. The crease scars still hurts a little, but nothing unbearable. More than anything, I want the sensation to return. Any advice?
Will Nipple and Breast Numbness After Breast Implants Go Away?
Doctor Answers 15
Numbness improves over weeks and months
The numbness you experience at 2 weeks post-op will almost certainly improve. Some of it may resolve in the next few weeks. At least, you should notice changing sensations; numbness progressing to tingling progressing to decreased feeling, then hopefully normal sensation. Final improvement could take 6-18 months. In most studies permanent numbness rates are about 15%, but most patients feel altered sensation early on during their recovery.
Numbness after breast augmentation
Will nipple and breast numbness after breast implants go away?
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.
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The sensation will most likely return
The sensation should return over the next few weeks, but it may take several months or more. I don't think it's anything to worry about at the moment: be patient, heal well, and things should settle down and the sensation return in a few weeks time.
Nipple and Breast Numbness After Breast Implant Surgery
Further, if you have concerns about your healing, or pain that you question to be unusual, it is important to call your plastic surgeon to discuss these further asked to be examined.
Nipple Numbness after Breast Implants
Loss of sensation
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.
Loss of Sensation Following Breast Augmentation
Although breast augmentation is a relatively safe operative procedure, occasionally complications can occur. Loss of sensation is a recognized complication of breast augmentation and can occur in about five percent of patients. Loss of sensation may involve the breast skin or in more serious cases, the actual nipple areola complex. In the vast majority of cases, it’s a transcient phenomenon that resolves with time, but in some cases, it may be permanent.
The problem seems to occur more frequently when larger implants are used. This tends to stretch the nerves and compress them as well resulting in loss of sensation. It’s important that you discuss this issue thoroughly with your plastic surgeon. Although relatively rare, there’s no question that loss of nipple areola sensation can potentially occur with this procedure.
Thank you for your post. In general, most women who have a disturbance in nipple sensation, whether it be less (hypo-sensation), or in some cases too much (hyper-sensation), the sensation goes back to normal with 3-6 months. Occasionally, it can take 1 - 2 years to be normal. Extremely rare, the sensation never goes back to normal. This is extremely rare in augmentation alone, more common in lift or reduction but less with a smaller lift like a crescent lift. Signs that sensation is coming back are needle type sensation at the nipple, itchiness at the nipple, or 'zingers' to the nipple. The number of women that lose sensation is much lower than 10%, closer to 1% in a simple augmentation. In some cases the same occurs with contraction where some women have no contraction and some women have a constant contraction of the nipples. Unfortunately there is no surgical correction for this. Massaging the area can help sensation normalize faster if it is going to normalize, but will not help if the nerve does not recover. In women with hyper-sensitive nipples, this will go away with time in most cases. Usually 3 months or so. In the interim, I have them wear nipple covers or 'pasties' to protect them from rubbing. It is unlikely that down-sizing the implant will cause regaining sensation. Down-sizing the implant may cause saggy breasts, however, and may necessitate a breast lift. Physical therapy with de-sensitivity techniques can help with this issue.
Pablo Prichard, MD
Sensation Change after Augmentation
Although the risk of permanent sensation loss is very low, it is possible to see temporary sensation changes that take 3-6 months to return. I typically warn patients that the larger the implant that is placed, the higher the risk of sensation changes. This is because the sensory nerve to the nipple and areola will be stretched by the implant. The good news is that most cases stretch injury to the nerve results are temporary.
I would recommend aggressive massage exercises to the implant and any areas of burning/tingling. I wish you a safe and healthy recovery.
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.