Why Are My Nipples Numb After My Breast Augmentation Surgery?

Q: Hi I had a breast reduction and then a scar revision over 15 years ago. Then last year I had  a breast augmentation. Since then both nipples and parts of the breast are numb and I have no nipple sensation. Only when the nipples are pinched can I feel anything. Was having a breast reduction previously the reason that I have no nipple sensation now?

A:  While breast reduction does decrease the amount of breast tissue, I am not aware that it would make one at more risk for nipple sensation later after a breast augmentation. I do not believe that the two are related other than both breast procedures were done on you.

The more likely explanation is that you have suffered nipple sensation loss exclusively because of the breast augmentation procedure. This is one of the know risks of the procedure although my experience is that it is very uncommon. While the nipple receives innervation from different nerve inputs, a major nerve supply comes from the side of the chest. The location of this nerve does place it at risk for a stretch injury during pocket development for a breast implant during the procedure. This is why I always only do blunt finger dissection when making the pocket to the side and to make sure it does not go too far too the side as well.

If you still have persistent numbness after a year after surgery, it is likely the loss of nipple and skin sensation will be permanent.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana