Sensitivity of the nipple and areola after breast enhancement procedures

Sensitivity of the nipple and areola after breast enhancement procedures

20th May 2019

Sensitivity of the nipple and areola after breast enhancement procedures


If you have a look on forums or other plastic surgery boards online, you might read up about patients who had undergone a breast augmentation or breast lift mentioning about a change of sensitivity in the nipple and areola after the procedure. When discussing the risks of any breast enhancement procedure, a responsible plastic surgeon will always mention changes in nipple sensitivity among them as this is important for various reasons. The sensitivity of the nipple plays an important role in breastfeeding and also because the breasts are one of the erogenous areas of the human body. This means that a change in nipple and areola sensitivity can affect the sensations you experience during breast stimulation and can also make breastfeeding difficult.

Before anything else, we should mention that we are talking about changes in sensitivity in the nipple and areola complex only when the periareolar incision is performed to insert the implants. This means that this is not an issue or a risk when the inframammary incision is performed as the nipple and areola are not sectioned or affected in any way. The periareolar incision entails a cut being made around the edges or the areolas to be used to insert the implants or to remove the excess skin in the case of a breast lift. When implants are inserted after performing the periareolar incision, the plastic surgeon needs to cut through the tissues of the breasts to be able to reach behind the mammary gland or the pectoral muscle to create a pocket that will accommodate the implant. This means that the connection between the milk ducts in the mammary gland and the nipple can be sectioned, resulting in difficulties in breastfeeding for some patients or changes in sensitivity.

For most patients, the changes in sensitivity that occur after getting implants are temporary. This means that after about three months, the patient might discover that the numbness has disappeared by itself and the normal feeling is back. However, in rare cases, the changes in the sensitivity of the nipple and areola can become permanent. This can happen when a periareolar incision is used. It is important for the patients to be aware of this risk and look for other options if nipple sensitivity is essential for them. An experienced plastic surgeon who is also board-certified will be able to find a solution to your issue if you want to avoid changes in sensitivity of the nipple and areola complex; however, keep in mind that this might come at a cost.

Discuss this issue with the plastic surgeon in detail even during the initial meeting to make sure that the surgical approach chosen is the right one for your particular case.


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