Does Having Very Small Breasts Increase the Chances of Losing Sensation?

I have 32A breasts, so I'm wondering if this will increase my chances of losing nipple sensation if I have surgery?

Doctor Answers 11

Loss of nipple sensation related to breast size in augmentation

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I would agree with the responses that there is no known correlation between preoperative breast size and permanent loss of nipple sensation. Properly done, an augmentation does not do anything to the breast or its function. Think of it as placing your breast on a pillow. 

There are a few things that might help avoid the very uncommon risk of permanent loss of nipple sensation. One is to avoid the periareolar incision. Another is to place the implant below the pectoralis muscle for the central and upper part of the breast. The other is to avoid making a pocket for the implant that is wider than the width of the breast or trying to fit an implant that is too wide for the diameter of the breast into a space behind it. This doesn't eliminate the risk entirely but should minimize it. I have not seen problems related to the profile of the implant if the pocket and diameter of the implant matches the width of the breast. 

Boulder Plastic Surgeon

Chance of nipple numbness after breast augmentation

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Thank you for your question.

It all depends on how stretchy the skin is of your breasts and how large (and how wide) of an implant you pick.  If you have had children and the breast have deflated, then there is usually ample room to place an implant.

If you have never had children, you are thin, and your skin is tight, then there will be a lot of stretch and strain on the breast when breast implants are placed.

To know what best suits you, see two or more board-certified plastic surgeons in your area for a full and complete evaluation to make sure you are a good candidate and that it is safe for you to have surgery. I hope this helps.

J. Jason Wendel, MD, FACS
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 221 reviews

Loss of sensation

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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.

Nipple Sensation Loss

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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 wish you a safe and healthy recovery.

Paul S. Gill, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 94 reviews


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Placing the implants on top of the muscle is associated with a higher chance of nipple numbness. In theory, a larger implant requires a larger pocket which will put the nerve that gives sensation to the nipple at risk. In practice, I have not found this to be true.

Chance Of Sensation Loss Is Not Related To Pre-op Breast Size

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There is not a greater chance of loss of sensation in your nipple if your pre-op breast size is small such as your 32A.  In my practice the chance is around 3-4% and is not influenced by size.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon

Breast Size and Loss of Sensation after Breast Augmentation?

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Thank you for the question.

No, having small breasts does not necessarily increase the chances of losing sensation after breast augmentation surgery. Although the risk of losing sensation is always present with breast surgery, this risk tends to be less than 5% regardless of initial breast size.

I hope this helps.

Relationship Between Breast Size and Loss of Nipple Sensation

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The size of your breasts will not have any bearing on increasing the risk of losing nipple sensation post operatively. Large breasted women incur the same risks as smaller breasted women. Thankfully permanent loss of nipple sensation is rare in breast augmentation. The most common scenario is a temporary loss of nipple sensation which typically recovers quickly.

It is important that you consult with a board certified plastic surgeon to discuss your goals as well as address any questions and concerns that you may have.

Good luck.

Losing Sensation?

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Loss of sensation is quite uncommon, and is not related to preoperative breast size. All the pros and cons of implants surgery can be discussed thoroughly at a consultation with a plastic surgeon.

Thanks for your question, best wishes. 

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

Nipple sensation

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Most likely you will not lose nipple sensation.  If you do, it is usually only for a short time while recovering from surgery.  The size of the breast makes no difference. Consult with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, certified by the American Society of Plastic Surgery (ASPS) to address your concerns and expectations.

Robert E. Zaworski, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 61 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.