Very Sensitive Nipples 3 Years After Breast Augmentation?

I had silicone BA 3yrs ago. Nipples were left a little sensative but not overly so. As of a month ago, both have been VERY sensative to touch and clothes contact. They are dry and peeling. It feels like burning, shooting pain in nipple/areola area a few times a day. No pain around rest of breast.

Could this be due to the silicone? I have gained 60 lbs since BA. Could it be the weight gain? Could it be an infection? Or a fungus on nipple? I am not pregnant. Not menstrating.

Doctor Answers 20

Nipple Sensitivity After Breast Augmentation

Your description of developing hypersensitivity and burning in the nipples 3 years after breast augmentation is almost certainly not related to the breast implants or your breast augmentation surgery.

This is not a symptom of a leaking silicone gel implant.

Burning and shooting pain is fairly characteristic of stretching or pressure on a sensory nerve. Weight gain can contribute to this. Ill-fitting garments (think about your bras after recent weight gain) may be contributing.

Don't ignore the symptoms. Definitely visit your gynecologist to rule out other causes.

Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Sensitive nipples after augmentation

Thank you for your question. Hypersensitivity to the nipple or other breast regions is normal after surgery. The nerves may have been stretched and transiently down for the count. As they wake up, they want to let you know they are still there by over signalling their presence. Hence very sensitive nipples. Things typically do resolve with time. In the meantime, you can take two approaches. Compression or tape to minimize friction on the nipples. The other approach could be desensitization with over stimulation (e.g. vibration).

Since this has also started years after your augmentation, I do not think it is related to the implants or the fact that they are silicone.  I would revisit with your plastic surgeon.

Young R. Cho, MD, PhD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Very sensitive nipples 3 years after breast augmentation?

Hello! Thank you for your question! Your symptoms sound like your nerves regenerating. Breast procedures such as the breast augmentation and breast lift/reduction certainly result in a more shapely, perky, and fuller appearance of your breasts. With any breast procedure 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% for lift/reductions and much smaller for breast augmentation. 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 full sensation to return. Re-educating your nerves to these areas by using different textures when showering and putting on lotion often helps.

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

Suddenly overly sensitive nipples

Dear alikidd,
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. In your case, sensitivity that happens this far from surgery may be related to a capsular contraction that is affecting the nerve to the nipple. This may be able to be lessened by a capsulotomy or capsulectomy. Discuss with your PS.
Best Wishes,
Pablo Prichard, MD 

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

Sudden increase nipple sensitivity 3 years after breast implants

It is unlikely your silicone implants are the direct cause of your increased nipple sensitivity but there are several issues here to be addressed. Sudden appearance of dry chaffed nipples could be a sign of a more serious underlying disease such as Paget's disease and should be evaluated by an experienced profeesional. Other causes I have observed include the possibility of nerve irritation occuring with repetitive motion such as painting a room. Also I had one patient who' sudden increase in sensitivity heralded her being pregnant. Weight gain is associated with increased tenderness.  As you can see there are many potential causes and you should see your physician for an evaluation including the possiblity of imaging or biopsy.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

Changes in sensation are most likely not related to your surgery

It is unlikely that the recent sensitivity changes you've seen are a result of your surgery.  Temparary changes after a breast augmentation are relatively common.  Some patients become more sensitive, some patients claim to be less sensitive.  Permanent sensory changes are rare.  Over the years I have seen a handful of patients who have developed similiar symptoms to yours.  For some unknown reason they developed what appeared to be a rash of one or both areolae years after surgery.  Their symptoms cleared up with a topical steroid.  Your best bet is to be evaluated by an experienced board certified plastic surgeon in your area. 

Kelly Gallego, MD, FACS
Yuba City Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Burning nipples after breast augmentation?

Problems beginning years after augmentation are almost certainly not related to the augmentation procedure.  

Minor nipple sensitivity changes are very common temporarily after breast augmentation.  However, these problems usually gone within a few months.    Please see your family physician to rule out common causes for this problem and to have a health examination.

Claudio DeLorenzi MD FRCS

Claudio DeLorenzi, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

It maybe related to weight gain

I'm afraid those sensitive nipples can occur following breast enlargement surgery it may be related to putting on some weight and ideally if you could decrease this, this may improve matters slightly.

Adrian Richards, MD
London Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 148 reviews

Nipple sensitvity after breast augmentation

It is not unusual to experience some change in nipple sensitivity after breast augmentation, or unusual sensations such as tingling. However, these symptoms often occur immediately after surgery and resolve with time. The sensations you are describing 3 years after surgery are probably not related to the augmentation should be evaluated for another cause.

Olivia Hutchinson, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Please see a plastic surgeon about these nipple changes

Nipple changes such as you describe 3 years after breast implant surgery are likely unrelated to your surgery.  You may have something else (a medical problem) going on that needs to be evaluated.

Carmen Kavali, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 42 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.