A Milwaukee breast augmentation patient who is almost three weeks post-op recently contacted the office because of concerns she had regarding nipple sensitivity. She described her nipples as being “extra sensitive”, and noted some sharp and burning sensations. Her post-op recovery has otherwise been normal and she is progressing well. I thought I would take this opportunity to address this topic.
Hypersensitivity of the nipple-areolar complex is normal in the first several weeks to months following surgery. It generally does not occur immediately after surgery, but begins to appear as swelling in the breast decreases. Sensory changes in the breast following augmentation are caused by some combination of the swelling, inflammation, pressure, and stretching that results from the surgical procedure and the placement/presence of the implant.
Women may experience a multitude of different sensations. Temporary numbness is the most common, but a feeling of pins and needles, burning sensations, itching, hot and cold temperature sensations, or a generalized hypersensitivity may also occur. The sensations can last for several weeks, or up to several months, but are not usually permanent. So for this woman we anticipate that these sensations will improve and eventually resolve.
Placing a soft pad over the nipple-areolar complex inside the bra, and gently massaging the nipple-areolar complex and breast skin with a soft warm compress often help these sensations.
The risk of permanent sensory change (complete or incomplete sensory loss) is about 10% following breast implant surgery.