Women seek breast augmentation for a variety of reasons. In some cases breasts never really develop with puberty or there is some type of deformity which leads to or had tuberous breast deformity. Typically after having children and / or nursing the structure of the breast often changes as well and many women notice their breast are "drooping." Also as we age, the breasts usually sag and loose upper pole fullness. For these reasons, many women seek to improve or restore their breasts. One common question women have is about nipple sensation after breast implants. Please see below for 5 key points.
How the implant is actually inserted into the breast is critical in determining nipple sensation after surgery. Studies show insertion through the breast fold, armpit, or belly button all do not typically affect long term nipple sensation. A 'periareolar' incision, however, or when the implant is placed through an incision around the areola does lead to diminished nipple sensation. When the implant is placed in this method, nerves to the nipple are typically cut and scar tissue may block the regeneration of the nerves following the surgery.
Implant placement (above, below, or in between the muscle) does not seem to impact long term nipple sensation. These implant placements are also referred to by your plastic surgeon as subglandular (prepectoral), partial submuscular (dual plane), and total submuscular (under the muscle). Since in none of these placements, does the surgeon cut around the areola the nipple sensation tends to return in 4 - 6 months.
Large implants for your anatomy may contribute to numbness of the nipples and skin on breasts at least initially. Due to the stretching of the skin and nipple, there may be more discomfort initially as the nerves stretch to accomodate the implant size.
Nipple sensitivity questions should be reviewed at any pre-operative consultation with your plastic surgeon. They can speak to your specific situation and guide you on what to expect.
According to Natrelle (largest manufacturer of breast implants), 6% of patients may experience increased or decreased nipple sensitivity. In general in that 6% of patients there is broad range of everything from no nipple sensation to a slight decrease in nipple sensitivity.
All women after a breast augmentation surgery will experience some degree of sensitivity or numbness, but the vast majority of patients find nipple sensation is restored after a few months and they are able to fully While all women experience some degree of sensitivity or numbness following breast augmentation surgery, the vast majority of patients find that after a few months their sensitivity problems are resolved leaving them free to fully enjoy their enhanced feminine appearance.