American Society of Plastic Surgeons
For Medical Professionals
2 years ago

Nipple Numbness

I got a the gummy bear implants inserted and a lift on my left boob, in order to seek symmetrical breasts, back in Feb 2017. I still have nipple numbness and I’m not sure why. My boobs are almost the same size, but my left still is slightly bigger. Does anyone know why I still have numbness after 3 years? My biggest concern is that I won’t be able to breast feed eventually.

Procedure: Breast Augmentation
Location: Islip, NY

Replies 5

Suzanne Trott
ASPS Surgeon

Nothing can be determined without seeing you in a consultation in person, but from your history it sounds like the function of the main nerve that supplies nipple sensation was compromised. This is always a risk with any elective breast surgery. The nerve comes from the side of the chest wall, and depending on the circumstances, including the size of the implant and the pressure placed on the nerve, it can be affected. However, nipple sensation has nothing to do with ability to breastfeed. Breastfeeding depends on the anatomy and function on the ducts. It may be compromised, but usually women who want to breastfeed after breast augmentation are able to. Sometimes women can't breastfeed and it has nothing to do with the breast augmentation. You may want to consult a board-certified plastic surgeon regarding possible platelet rich plasma treatment for the nipple sensation, as it has been shown to help with nerve injury.

Orlando Cicilioni
ASPS Surgeon

Unfortunately, some women will have permanent numbness of the nipple after breast augmentation. Overall, the risk is thought to be about 5%. It may be higher when a mastopexy is performed. Other factors, such as implant size over 350ml may also play a role.

If you are having persistent numbness after 3 years, it would be wise to see your doctor for a follow up visit, just to make sure there are no reversible factors involved. A physical examination could determine if your implants are encapsulated (encased in excessively firm capsular scar tissue) or if they have become displaced in position. Drift of the implants can put pressure on the nerve endings. There are 2 styles of Allergan implants that are referred to as "gummy bears." The Allergan 410 anatomically shaped textured silicone implant, and the Allergan smooth round silicone implant. The textured implants have been associated with BIA-AlCL. A mammogram and/or Ultrasound may be indicated for further evaluation.

Steven Wallach
ASPS Surgeon

It is unlikely that after 3 years of numbness that it will get better. Why it happened could be for several reasons. Whether or not you’ll be able to breast feed is difficult to say. Sorry for the vague answers but you’ll only know how successful you can breast feed when you try.

Nelson Castillo

Thank you for sharing your question and I am sorry to hear of your numbness. Unfortunately any breast procedure comes with the risk of temporary, or permanent, alterations in sensation to the skin, or nipple. After nearly three years it is unlikely to change. This does not mean that you will be unable to breast feed, time can only tell once you try.

Gary Culbertson
ASPS Surgeon
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Breast are sisters not twins. Loss of nipple senation is often more common with larger implants. Across the board about 50% of women cannot breast feed for whatever reason. Best,

Gary R Culbertson, MD, FACS


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