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Why are my nipples numb after my breast procedure?

Following cosmetic surgery procedures such as a breast enlargement, breast uplift, breast reduction or tubular breast correction, it is possible for patients to experience a change in sensation in one or both breasts and nipples such as a numbness and or an increase or decrease in sensitivity.  

November 8th, 2019 |Ask an Expert

If a patient has undergone breast surgery and had breast implants, it is likely that their breasts will feel tender during their post-operative recovery. Patient’s nipples may feel hard or sensitive to touch, this is a normal part of the healing process, and any discomfort should subside within 7-14 days.  

Will I lose nipple sensitivity following a nipple reduction or uplift? 

Following procedures such as a mastopexy or a nipple reduction where the nipple is repositioned or the size of the areola is reduced during the procedure, patients may experience a change or loss of sensitivity in the nipples and surrounding breast tissue post-op. This is due to the superficial nerves being disturbed during the surgery as the nipples are repositioned.  

Patients may feel anything from mild tingles to a sudden sharp pain or numbness, this is normal part of the recovery process and typically settles down within a few weeks, however, this can last longer and, in some cases, may be permanent.   

Is it possible for my nipples to permanently lose feeling following breast surgery? 

Cosmetic surgery procedures are not without risk and require time and detailed thought when considering a procedure. There is a small risk that patients who undergo breast surgery could permanently lose sensitivity in their nipples due to nerve disturbance or damage during surgery. The risks and limitations of breast surgery will be discussed in more detail during the surgeon consultation. 

How long will my nipples feel sensitive for following a breast enlargement? 

Patients typically experience a change in nipple or breast sensation for around 7-14 days. Some patients may experience an increase or decrease in nipple sensation that may last longer or be permanent.  

Will I be able to breast feed following breast surgery? 

Following a breast augmentation, patients with breast implants should be able to breastfeed successfully with no issues and continue to use a breast pump and breast implants should not impact a woman's ability to produce milk.  

Breastfeeding is usually possible after a breast uplift (Mastopexy), as patient's nipples are not separated from the underlying breast tissue. However, some women might have difficulty producing enough milk and therefore struggle to breastfeed. 

Following a breast reduction, it is common that due to location of incisions, the removal of breast tissue, glands and separation of the nipples from the milk duct associated with the procedure, it may not be possible to breastfeed.  

If this is something you are concerned about, please speak to your MYA surgeon or clinical team during your consultation.  

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