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Medically Reviewed By Dr. Moraitis

If having reduced nipple sensation is not an option for you, you may need to reassess whether breast implants are the right choice for you, as it can be difficult to predict which women will have lasting sensation loss. Approximately 15% of women who undergo breast augmentation have a lasting loss of nipple sensation.

What Can I Do To Reduce the Risk Of Nipple Sensation Loss?

While it is impossible to tell who will have permanent sensation loss, there are ways to reduce the risk. One important choice you can make is to select an implant with a smaller diameter than your breast. This is not about ultimate size, but rather relative size to your body. However, larger size implants that require significant skin stretching can also result in restricted blood flow to nerves, causing sensation loss.

Another way of reducing the likelihood of nipple sensation loss is to have your implants placed subpectorally, or under the muscle. Implants placed subglandularly – above the muscle, but under the milk glands, have a higher rate of sensation loss. Incisions around the nipple of course carry the highest risk of loss of nipple sensation.

After surgery, you can increase the likelihood and speed with which sensation returns by regularly massaging the nipple and breast tissue. By stimulating the area, you facilitate the creation of connections between the breast and the brain, helping to form new pathways for sensation. It is important that you are the one to perform this massage, rather than a significant other, because a large part of the connectivity process is psychological.

How Long Will It Take for Sensation to Return?

For many women, nipple sensation will return, but there will be a lag time. It can take up to two years for nipple sensation to fully return in some women. When nipple sensation is returning, you may experience sharp pains in the breast. Nipple massage can also be useful in these cases, helping the body to relate nipple sensation to pleasure, rather than to pain.

It is also important to note that even after sensation loss, some women will ultimately end up with a greater amount of nipple sensation after breast augmentation. Breast implants are not exclusively associated with sensation loss, but more generally with sensation change. Your breasts may not feel the same after surgery, but with proper precautions, you can achieve only limited sensation loss.