Medically reviewed by Mr. Omar Tillo — MD, MS, EBOPRAS, FRCS (Plast)
With any breast surgery, there may be worry about how the procedure affects nipple sensitivity. In this article, we will address how breast reduction impacts sensation in the nipples and the range of factors that may influence sensitivity.
How Breast Reduction Can Impact Nerves
Due to the removal of tissue and skin, nerves can be damaged during a breast reduction. When an incision is made around the nipples, it can be more difficult to preserve the nerves.
However, a highly-skilled surgeon will be able to avoid severing large nerves, while the smallest of branches cannot always be avoided. This is typically harmless as these nerves can naturally repair, and the sensation is returned.
How Long Will Breasts be Numb After Breast Reduction?
Nipple Sensation Immediately After Surgery
Immediately after the cosmetic surgery, it is normal to experience little sensation in the nipples. This is because the nerves will have been impacted during the procedure.
Importantly, the breasts and any sensation in them will be affected by the level of post-surgical swelling and bruising that is expected after the cosmetic procedure.
Nipple Sensation After Recovery
It is difficult to determine when nipple sensation will be fully restored, as it often varies from patient to patient. For sensation to gradually increase after the cosmetic surgery, the damaged nerves need time to regenerate. For some patients, nipple sensation has been reported to return within 2-3 months, but this can vary. Although surgeons will try to preserve the nerves, 20-30% of patients lose some sensation.
Factors That Impact Nipple Sensation After Breast Reduction
Breast Reduction Procedure Technique
There is a range of different surgical techniques involved in breast reduction, which all involve a periareolar incision. The number of incisions needed increases depending on how much tissue needs to be removed, which means there is an increased risk of nerve damage as the surgery grows in complexity.
Plastic Surgeon Expertise
An important factor that can impact nipple sensation after breast reduction is the surgeon’s experience and expertise in performing the cosmetic surgery.
A board-certified surgeon with a portfolio of successfully completed breast reductions will ensure a better chance for the procedure to be done safely.
Health of Patient
Your overall health before the cosmetic surgery is integral in increasing your chances of complete recovery post-surgery. Patients with health conditions that impact your nerves such as diabetes or lupus will be considered carefully before being approved for surgery, as these conditions can affect wound healing. This will decrease your ability to recover from the operation, and you may be considered less eligible for surgery.
Rest During Recovery
You should make sure you rest well to allow your body to heal. Vitally, you should avoid any strenuous exercise and heavy lifting until six weeks have passed, as pressure on the chest can further damage the nerves. Additionally, getting enough sleep after breast reduction will endorse healing as the body repairs during this time.
Is a Breast Reduction Worth It?
There is a range of medical and cosmetic benefits of breast reduction. The cosmetic procedure is proven to decrease chronic pain, improve your posture and reduce intertrigo. Large breasts can be cumbersome, and since it cannot be easily solved with exercise, the cosmetic surgery may be beneficial to you. Should you be struggling with these symptoms, it may be a sign that you need a breast reduction.
Schedule a Consultation with CREO Clinic Today
At CREO Clinic, Dr Omar Tillo has mastered the art of breast reduction so that patients can feel lighter and happier with the appearance of their breasts.
If you think breast reduction is right for you, request a callback and book a consultation today to begin your journey to smaller, more comfortable breasts.