Does breast lift impact nipple sensation?

Does breast lift impact nipple sensation?

27th Aug 2017

A breast lift surgery is a surgical solution for those who have sagging breasts. A lift can be combined with breast augmentation or breast reduction procedures. There are four different types of incisions commonly used during breast lift surgery and the type used depends on severity of sagginess.

Like any other breast surgery, the breast lift procedure also comes with its own risks and complications, one of which may concern nipple sensitivity. As mentioned earlier, incisions will be made and can inadvertently injure or sever sensory nerves. It bears pointing out that temporary loss of sensation in the nipular area after surgery is common. Some women may experience heightened sensitivity instead.

Another reason for altered nipple sensation may be due to the pocket created for implant insertion. Additionally, the pressure from insertion of large implants can also cause the altered sensitivity.

Most of the time, the modification of nipple sensitivity is just temporary and sensation will return to normal after six months to a year. In very rare cases, the loss of sensation or over sensitivity is permanent. Unfortunately, there is still no treatment for it.

Breast Lift Surgery

The breast lift surgery is a common procedure for women who manifest varying degrees of breast sagginess. The breast lift procedure may or may not include a reduction or augmentation. This is on case-to-case basis and can only be determined after consultation with a certified surgeon.

There are four different techniques routinely used in breast lift surgery. Each technique makes use of a different incision in order to lift the breasts. The technique used will also depend on extent of breast ptosis or sagginess. If the sagging is severe, it follows that more incisions will be needed to fully address and correct the problem. Like any other surgical procedure, the breast lift surgery comes with its attendant risks and complications, of which loss of nipple sensation or its extra sensitivity occurs.

Altered Nipple Sensation

It is quite common to lose the sensitivity of the nipple and areola after a breast lift surgery. In some cases, there is extra sensitivity of the nipple and areola. It is normally a temporary state and sensation will go back to normal after the breasts have healed completely.

Any of the different breast lift techniques can cause the altered sensitivity of the nipples. This is because of the incisions made. It can damage or sever the sensory nerves or some of its branches. This will result in either a temporary or permanent numbness of the nipples and the surrounding area.

Aside from the incision, the altered nipple sensation can also be caused by the creation of the pocket, in which an implant will be placed at the same time the breast lift procedure is done. This, too, can damage the nerves that would then lead to the altered sensitivity of the nipples.

It is also possible that there is decreased sensation of the nipples because the nerves are stretched due to swelling after surgery. Sometimes, patients experience this discomfiting prickling and tingling akin to pins and needles sensation after a breast lift surgery. All these will eventually resolve by itself when the swelling has died down and when the nerves have also healed.

There are also other patients whose nipples experience over sensitivity. For some, this can be quite painful because accidental brushing of their nipples can hurt since the nipples feel tender and exceedingly sensitive. Normally, this also gets better with time as the breasts heal.

Return Of Normal Sensation

Since this is a temporary side effect, the normal nipple sensation usually returns after 6 months to a year. When the nerves are cut, it will take some time for it to repair itself, which is why patients can experience a temporary loss of sensation or over sensitivity. It takes several months at least for the nerves to regenerate so it is highly unlikely that anything can be done to bring back the sensation right away. It would of course be great if the sensation comes back to normal after a temporary loss or heightened sensitivity but truth to tell, there are isolated cases when the nerves are too severed that the loss of sensation becomes permanent. Although it is possible, it is quite rare to lose the sensation of your nipples permanently due to a breast lift.

That said, the cause of the altered sensation might not only be due to the incisions made. Disproportionately large implants may apply pressure and also cause the loss of sensation or over sensitivity of the nipples. As long as the large implants are there, the sensitivity may not improve.

If the alteration of the sensitivity of the nipples is already permanent, there are no treatments that can help bring it back to the normal sensation. This is a risk taken by those who undergo breast surgeries. It is uncommon to have a permanent one but it is possible.


A breast lift surgery is one of the popular cosmetic procedures designed to help women who have sagging breasts. It can rejuvenate and transform droopy breasts and make it look perkier, shapelier and youthful looking. The breast lift surgery can also be combined with a breast augmentation or a breast reduction procedure. There are four techniques that can be used to lift the breasts. The technique used will depend on the severity of the sagging breast.

The breast lift surgery, like other surgeries, can also result in unwanted complications like altered sensitivity of the breasts and nipples. The nipples can either be too sensitive or have no sensation at all. Most of the time, this is just temporary but there are rare cases when this is permanent.

The reason why altered sensitivity happens is because the sensory nerves can be cut during breast incisions or when pockets for the implants are made if the breast lift will be combined with breast augmentation. The pressure from overly large implants can also cause altered sensation.

The sensitivity of the nipples usually goes back to normal after 6 months to a year. Within this time, the breasts heal and the damaged sensory nerves heal at the same time. Unfortunately, if the altered sensitivity becomes permanent, there are no treatments that can be done, to date.

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