Temporary vs Permanent Sensory Changes After Breast Augmentation
This is a more complicated question than it seems! The simple answer is: yes temporarily sensation changes are common and yes there are things you can do to avoid this.
Here is a more detailed summary of what we know to be true about sensation changes after augmentation:
- Temporary nipple/areola sensation changes are common, affecting the majority of patients. Some patients become too sensitive, while the majority are less sensitive.
- You will know if these changes are permanent after six months.
- Permanent sensory loss in the nipple/areola is very rare, <1%.
- Permanent decreased sensitivity of the nipple/areola is uncommon. The rate is somewhere between 2-15%, depending on which study you believe.
What can you do to prevent sensory loss?
- Larger implants are associated with decreased sensation, but not associated with higher risk of complete loss. Interestingly, woman that are naturally large breasted also have much lower nipple/areola sensitivity. This means that the nerves to the nipple/areola are being injured by breast size, regardless if the breasts were natural or surgically enhanced.
- Some older studies have shown that periareolar incision has a higher risk for nipple/areola sensory loss, while some studies say there is no difference.
- There is some evidence that a infra mammary incision will decrease the sensation to the skin of the lower breast.