Can I regain sensation in nipples after explant?

After my breast augmentation I lost the sensation in my nipples. It makes me feel very self conscious. Will I regain sensation after I remove the implants?

Doctor Answers 9

Sensory changes after breast augmentation

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Thanks for posting your question. I am happy to try and help you. It is important to remember that a board certified plastic surgeon will be your best resource when it comes to an accurate assessment of your situation, and concerns.

Having said that, I am sorry to learn about your sensory changes after breast augmentation. Most nerve issues are related to the rapid stretching of the nerves. Some are related to micro tears in the nerves and other may be from big tears or even having the nerves completely torn apart or cut. With each and every type of nerve injury a person will have a different nerve recovery.

Simple degree nerve injuries will recover relatively quickly and may last only a few weeks. The more significant the injury to the nerve, the longer the recovery. This is because nerves are very slow growing tissues. When the nerves are divided, the injuries or sensory changes may be permanent.

Removing breast implants or exchanging to smaller breast implants may indeed my the sensory changes go away. I have seen this in both cases. I have also seen no improvement in the sensory changes.

Best wishes,

Dr. Michael J. Brown
Northern Virginia Plastic Surgeon

Sensation make get worse

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Nothing can be done to change the sensation. Implant removal, because it involves more surgery, may make the sensory problems worse. 

Can I regain sensation in nipples after explant?

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I am sorry to hear about the loss of sensation. Unfortunately, the regaining of sensation is very unlikely (should not be expected or promised) after removal of breast implants. Best wishes.

#Explant #BreastImplantRemoval - regain sensation in nipples after explant?

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It can take up to two years for sensation to return following breast surgery - but if you lost sensation as a result of the breast augmentation (presumably more than two years ago) then it is unlikely that explantation will return the sensation.

Sensory changes following breast surgery are poorly understood - it is not (normally) evident why someone would lose sensation (sometimes only on one side), retain it, or have it diminished after surgery but then gradually return to normal.  Most likely, the more extensive the surgery, the greater the likelihood of disruption (in general) and sensory changes, but even that is empiric.

Either way, I don't think that you can reasonably expect sensation to return following an explant.  It would, of course, be great if it did so in a positive manner.

I hope that this helps and good luck,

Dr. Alan Engler
Member of #RealSelf100


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After 2 years it is unlikely they nipple sensitivity will return. Only a tincture of time will tell. 

Stuart A. Linder, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Can I regain sensation in nipples after explant?

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If you lost feeling in the nipples after the augmentation surgery, it was from some nerve damage, an unfortunate risk with this procedure. If the nerves have not healed in a year, they probably never will, with or without implants. 

Ronald V. DeMars, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Nipple sensation loss after breast augmentation

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Hi Joelle8.  I am sorry that you have sensation loss after breast augmentation.  Small implants that stretch nerves a short distance can cause temporary sensation loss-under 3 months. Larger implants with more stretch can compromise the nerves enough that sensation loss lasts longer. When the loss lasts for a year or longer, the chances of return are very low.  Removal of your implants may not be necessary, nor will it guarantee return of sensation.  Your implanting plastic surgeon will be able to guide you further. Best wishes,

Can I regain sensation in nipples after explant?

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Thank you for your question, and I am sorry to hear of your lost sensation after breast augmentation.  If it has been over 1-2 years since your breast augmentation, it is unlikely that nipple sensation will return after explant.  Though a rare occurrence, loss of nipple sensation is from nerve irritation due to skin stretch from the implant placement, or direct nerve injury during surgery.  The immediate numbness after surgery tends to resolve over the next several months, but is unlikely to change at a year or more out from surgery.  

Nelson Castillo, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 80 reviews

Nipple Numbness

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The sensory nerves to the nipple are very sensitive especially to stretching caused by the implant which I believe is the most common cause for numbness rather than being cut. Fortunately as the tissues soften, the sensation often returns with in the first year. If your nipples can become erect then in my experience you will have more of a chance to regain sensation.

Nipple erogenous sensation recovery and the rest of the skin of the breast where you describe numbness are from different nerves. Although it is highly likely that you may not have return of sensation, the good news is the vast majority of patients will have return of sensation within the first year after breast augmentation.


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.