I Am Still Experiencing Quite a Bit of Pain Since my Breast Augmentation 3 Months Ago, is This Normal?

I had my surgery on October 18th 2012 and I am still experiencing tenderness on my breasts. Particularly in the nipples. My scars are also still bumpy and my breasts haven't fully dropped and still look a little funny. Is this normal after more than 3 months after surgery? Thank you for your help.

Doctor Answers 9

I am still experiencing quite a bit of pain since my breast augmentation 3 months ago - is this normal?

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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.

Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Sensitive nipples. Will they get better?

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Dear Julie, 
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, the sensitivity may be related to a capsular contraction which may also be related to the implants still being high.  You may need a capsulotomy to help with both issues.
Best Wishes,
Pablo Prichard, MD

Pablo Prichard, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Post augmentation changes.

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The healing times from a breast augmentation extend beyond a year. Nipple sensitivity changes can take 6 to 12 months to normalize and scar formation and maturation continues well beyond a year from surgery. Some intermittent pains are normal (particularly with your cycle), but continuous pain is usually an indication of something else going on. The recommendation is for you to follow up with your plastic surgeon for a thorough evaluation.

David Bogue, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Still Experiencing Pain Since my Breast Augmentation 3 Months Ago, is This Normal?

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Tenderness or hypersensitivity in the nipple area can be normal after 3 months. Nerves can take that long to settle down a bit...Horrible pain in the breast itself is not very normal. And if your implants have not settled down in 3 months....sorry, but they probably won't.....Keep trying massage but it is doubtful...

John J. Corey, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Breast implants at 3 months

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I think that you need to have an exam to be properly counseled.  Pain at three months is a bit unsual.  Sesnsory changes shoudl improve over time.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Pain after breast augmentation

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What you are describing seems to be from nerve pain.  This may persist several months to year.  Occasional shooting pain/sensitivity  to nipples is common after breast augmentation.  In regards to implant positioning, most implants do settle in 3 months; however, depending on patients, it may take a little longer.  If you had a very tight skin or muscle, it would take longer for the implants to drop down to their final location.  I would continue massaging the implants and scars and follow up with your plastic surgeon.

Tenderness 3 months after breast implants

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It can be common to have persistent tenderness and sensitivity to the nipples several months after surgery, particularly if the incision is around the areola.  There is a nerve responsible for sensation in this area that comes from the side where your ribs are located.  This nerve can become stretched as a result of the larger implants, injured or bruised or even cut.  I would continue to be patient, continue to be reevaluated by your surgeon periodically, and massage the implant and your torso near the outside edge of your implant near your rib cage in an effort to desensitize the nerves.  Good luck!

Tito Vasquez, MD, FACS
Southport Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Breast and nipple tenderness after implants

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For most the tenderness will have subsided by three months, though given that the scar is still pink and bumpy your healing clock is longer. The sensitivity is a sign of inflammation in the tissue and will go away over time. For the pain an anti-inflammatory can give relief, use light massage, and suppport the breast until things are sorted out.

Best of luck, peterejohnsonmd.com

Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Breast Pain After Surgery

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Hello and thank you for the question.

Breast tenderness along with changes in sensation around the nipple-areolar complex can last for extended periods of time in some patients and will vary from patient to patient.  The same is true for the breasts dropping, and especially in women that are either nulliparous or have smaller breast prior to breast augmentation.

My advice would be to remain patient and follow-up with your surgeon on a routine basis to track your progress.

Best of luck,

Glenn Vallecillos, M.D., F.A.C.S. 

Glenn Vallecillos, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 30 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.