Nipple Sensation After Surgery

Nipple sensory changes after surgery

With every breast surgery there is a chance nipple sensation will be altered. If nerves are stretched (such as with an augmentation), you can become hypersensitive or less sensitive than normal, and even loose sensation in severe cases.

Nerves generally recover from stretch injury, so with time things tend to return to normal. Operations that have longer incisions or remove tissue are at risk for dividing nerves, and in this case you may have permanent numbness.

The nerves that supply the nipple come from all directions, and not everyone has the same distribution, so there is a random chance aspect related to sensory loss.

Doctor Christopher Assad, MD, BSc, FRCSC, Toronto Plastic Surgeon – 28 Year Old Woman Treated With Nipple Surgery

If you are talking about areola reduction, I would not be overly worried about sensory loss, but it is still a possibility. (Michael A. Bogdan, MD, FACS, Dallas Plastic Surgeon)

Nipple sensation and breast surgery

Breast augmentation or nipple surgery can certainly reduce nipple sensitivity, although the vast majority of patients have surgery without this problem. Even in very experienced hands it is possible to lose sensation to the nipples.

It is best to consult with board certified plastic surgeons with interest in breast surgery because those surgeons know where the nerves are and how best to avoid them. They also understand the balance between achieving the best results and minimizing the disruption to normal tissues. (Brent Moelleken, MD, Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon)

Sensation loss is usually temporary

Sensation to the nipple comes by way of nerves that enter the breast tissue from the outer aspect by the ribs. When the implant is put into place the tissue along the outside of the pocket is stretched and the nerves are often stretched as well.

Dr Zoran Potparic, MD, Fort Lauderdale Plastic Surgeon – 19 Year Old Woman Treated With Nipple Surgery Before After Photos

This nerve stretch is the cause of sensation changes. Since the nerves are not cut the nerves can recover and return to normal. This could take several months depending on how much stretch the nerves sustained.

The nipple reduction should not cause a loss of sensation because the nerves come from below and would not be cut by the incision. Permanet loss of sensation is possible but not very likely. (Marcus L. Peterson, MD, Saint George Plastic Surgeon)

Loss of sensation is possible but not common

Occasionally, a patient will have temporary loss of sensation from any kind of breast surgery, including breast augmentation. The incidence of this numbness being permanent is rare but the possibility is something a patient must accept.

As far as nipple reduction surgery is concerned, I have never had a patient with numbness afterward. The nerves are still present and uninjured in the nipple tissue left behind. (Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS, Seattle Plastic Surgeon)