Will I Lose Sensation in my Breast with a Breast Lift?

I am considering a breast lift without implants. Will I lose sensation in the breast? Is there a procedure that does not cause loss of sensation?

Doctor Answers 27

Breast sensation after breast lift

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Thank you for your question. With any breast surgery, there is always a risk of change in nipple sensation. Often times, these changes in sensation are transient, but unfortunately, sometimes they can be permanent. My breast lift technique aims to preserve nipple sensation and viability. I believe that a major part of breast lift should be geared towards  a functional breast. The majority of my patients retain their nipple sensation after breast lift and breast reduction.

When choosing your surgeon, please make sure you choose a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who has performed many breast lifts.

Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 168 reviews

Sensation after a breast lift

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Most of my patients retain normal sensation after a breast lift but loss of sensation is definitely a risk that must be considered when having any breast surgery.  

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.

Loss of Nipple Sensation with Breast Lift

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All surgical procedures carry some degree of risk. Any breast operation can result in changes in sensation. This happens less with lifts than reductions but is still possible. Occasionally, minor complications occur and do not affect the surgical outcome. Major complications associated with this procedure are rare. The suitability of the breast lift procedure and specific risks may be determined during your consultation.

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

Will I lose sensation in my breast with a breast lift?

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Hello! Thank you for your question! Breast procedures such as the breast lift and breast reduction certainly result in a more shapely, perky, and fuller appearance of your breasts along with raising of the nipple-areolar complex to an appropriate position. Since there is an incision made around the areola along with some rearrangement of tissue of the breast, 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%. 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 sensation to return.  It may take up to a year to regain sensation.  After that time, chances are small that it will improve.

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 28 reviews

Breast Lift

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Any surgery entails certain risks. Breast lift surgery can alter sensation to the breast and/or nipple but it is usually temporary should it occur. Although possible, it would be very unlikely for there to be a permanent change in sensation. You should consult a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery to discuss your treatment options for a breast lift and to review the benefits as well as the risks of the surgery with you.

Bryan G. Forley, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Sensation After Breast Lift

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It is common to experience numbness near the incisions with any surgery, but typically sensation returns within one year. Everyone's healing experience is different. Many patients experience no loss of sensation in the nipples or even a heightened sensitivity. It is impossible to predict the outcome of any procedure, but I typically tell my patients to weigh the risks and benefits and make an informed decision. Good luck!

Phillip Chang, MD
Leesburg Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 10 reviews


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The nerve input to the nipple come from 4 different areas. Although it is possible to lose sensation after a breast lift it is very unlikely

Norman Bakshandeh, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon

Will I lose Sensation After Breast Surgery?

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There is always a chance that you can lose nipple sensation when you have breast surgery.   Keeping in mind that everyone is different and will heal at different rates, patients can experience complete or partial numbness or heightened sensation after surgery, but both usually return to normal over time.  It's rare to have permanent loss of sensation but there is no way to guarantee it.

Andrew Smith, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Breast lift and sensory issues

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Some patients can lose sensation in the nipple areola after a lift or reduction. The statistics I have read report approximately 85% have normal sensation at 1 year.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 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.