Can You Experience Loss Of Nipple Sensation After Breast Augmentation?

A breast augmentation, also known as augmentation mammoplasty, is a popular cosmetic surgery procedure designed to improve a woman’s bustline by providing symmetry, shape and size of the breasts. While most patients are thrilled with the outcome and experience an incredible boost to their confidence as a result, it is important to be aware of the potential risks of this procedure, including the loss of nipple sensation. Although permanent numbness is uncommon, this possibility should be discussed with your surgeon during your initial Toronto breast augmentation consultation.

The Loss Of Nipple Sensation After Breast Augmentation Surgery

Because the plastic surgeon must create a space for the implant during surgery, the surrounding nerves may be impacted during the procedure. As a result, following a breast augmentation, when tissues are inflamed, the skin on your nipple and breast may lose sensation. While in most cases this is temporarily caused by stretching or pressure on the nerves, in some cases, particularly if the nerve was cut or cauterized during the procedure, complete feeling may not return. Unfortunately, because the nerve responsible for conducting sensation to the nipple is quite small and thin, it can be difficult to distinguish during surgery.

How Often Does This Occur?

Approximately 50% of women experience the temporary loss of nipple sensation following a breast augmentation, as the stretched nerve must adjust to the new implant. However, in most cases within two to three months of the procedure, the nerves adapt to the implant, allowing sensation to return.  Patients sometimes report mild shooting pains or “zingers” while the nerves are regenerating. In some cases it can take up to two years for the sensation to return and a small percentage of women experience permanent nipple numbness.Massaging your nipples and breasts regularly may help to restore sensation. Patients are advised to lightly touch their numb nipples or breast skin for several minutes each day to help restore neural pathways.

How To Avoid Loss Of Nipple Sensation

Your choice of implant size and incision location may impact your likelihood of losing nipple sensation. It is believed that larger implants, particularly those which have a larger diameter than your natural breast, can increase the risk of sensory problems. Implants ranging in size from 200cc to 475cc are recommended to reduce the risk of complications as studies reveal that women with implants that are large for their frame are more likely to experience loss of sensation.The periareolar approach, which makes an incision under the areola at the border, should be avoided if you are concerned about the risk of nipple numbness because it presents a 15% higher chance of sensory loss. Conversely, the inframammary (under breast) and transaxillary (armpit) incisions pose a less 5% chance of sensory loss. In addition, implants that are placed below the muscle are less likely to result in nipple numbness than those placed above the muscle.Prior to undergoing any procedure, it is crucial to be aware of the potential risks and considerations so that you are comfortable going forward with the surgery. During your consultation, Dr. Edelstein or Dr. Jindal, leading breast augmentation surgeons in Toronto, will explain the risks in detail and answer any questions that you may have.




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