Will I Get the Sensation Back in my Right Nipple?

I had a breast reduction on 8/25. Both breasts have some swelling and bruising. The left nipple has sensation but the right nipple does not. It is numb. I mentioned this to the surgeon and he gave me some nitroglycerin ointment to apply to the nipple. I have been applying it for about 3 days now but the nipple is still numb. Will I recover the sensation in my right nipple? And how long will it be before I do?

Doctor Answers 8

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.

Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 179 reviews

Loss of sensation in nipple

Loss of sensation in the nipple after a reduction mammoplasty is not that common but certainly is a risk of the operation.  I would wait at least 6 months before I would say it is permanent  Nitroglycerine gel is typically used for blood supply problems to tissue rather than sensation issues.

All the best,

Talmage J. Raine MD FACS

Talmage J. Raine, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Concerns about nipple sensory loss immediately after a breast reduction

It sounds like there may be a question of some viability of your nipple with the recommendation and usage of nitrogylcerin. This may indicate a reduced chance or return of sensation. You are still very early in the healing process. I would give it anywhere from 3 months up to 2 years to determine how much if any sensation returns.

Steven Turkeltaub, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Will I Get the Sensation Back in my Right Nipple?

Time will tell, at least 3 months before we can determine a permanent loss of N/A sensation. Your doc seems to be doing things correctly. 

Darryl J. Blinski, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 174 reviews

Nipple sensation after breast reduction

Sensory loss is a risk with breast reduction though it can be temporary. As your reduction is recent, sensation can take several months to return so you should stay positive and be hopeful. The nitroglycerin is used to improve the circulation in the nipple, much like it is used to improve the circulation to the heart in a heart attack, however it is unlikely to have any impact on the return of sensation.

Best of luck,


Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Sensation In Nipple May Or May Not Return

Two to three days post-op is far too early to know if your sensory loss will be permanent.  It is not at all unusual for there to be either loss of sensation or hypersensation at this point in your recovery process.  Permanent loss of nipple sensation is uncommon following reductions.  I cannot see evidence of ischemia in your nipple-areolar complices in the photo you provided; this is the main indication for nitro paste.

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

Nipple sensation after breast reduction

Sensory loss  and your state of recovery  may or may not be permanent. At this point there is not much to do except allow for your recovery to proceed and keep close follow-up with your surgeon. Hopefully, some if not all of your sensation will return. Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,498 reviews




Sensory loss after a large scale breast operation (like a reduction) is not universal, but it can happen. Some losses are regained though over time. It might be weeks to months to regain it if it is going to come back though.

Best Regards,


John Di Saia MD

John P. Di Saia, MD
Orange Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 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.