Patient Questions

QUESTION

Loss of Sensation After Breast Augmentation Surgery?

I am 34 and thinking about getting breast implants mostly to even out my chest (one breast is a C-cup, the other is a B-cup). I want my breasts to look better and more symmetrical, but I am really scared of losing sensation in this area. What I want to know is - Will breast implants cause me to lose sensation in my breasts? Is there anything I can do to avoid this, or is it inevitable if I undergo breast augmentation surgery? Thanks a lot!

ANSWER

Possible loss of sensation

Sensation to the nipple is usually preserved with breast augmentation. The key word here is usually. Any surgery can cause loss of sensation. There has been a significant amount of research into nipple sensation. The cutaneous innervation of the female breast is derived medially from the anterior cutaneous branches of the Ist-VIth intercostal nerves and laterally from the lateral cutaneous branches of the IInd-VIIth intercostal nerves. The nipple-areola complex is consistently supplied by the anterior and lateral cutaneous branches of the IVth intercostal nerve, with additional innervation by cutaneous branches of the IIIrd and Vth intercostal nerves. This means that the threats to nipple sensation include the following: 1. Where is the incision for the augmentation placed? 2. What nerves have been injured during pocket dissection? 3. Does the size of the implant stretch the nerve? Sometimes injuries to the nerve (especially from the third reason) will resolve over time (typically 6 months to a year) but in rare cases sensation loss can be permanent. Be sure to discuss your concerns with a board certified plastic surgeon! I hope this helps.

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