Nipple & Areola Post Op Sensation

The information in this section is made available through the generous support of Dr. Grant Stevens.

How common is loss of sensation after breast surgery?

Most women will have temporary numbness (partial or complete) immediately after surgery.  In most cases the sensation returns over time.

How common is nipple hypersensitivity after breast surgery?

Nipple hypersensitivity is much less common than numbness.

What is the best way to deal with nipple hypersensitivity after surgery?  Is there a safe and common remedy?

Usually this hypersensitivity will resolve over time.  Care should be taken to keep the nipple/ areola moisturized and protected from rubbing by clothes.  Gentle stimulation on a frequent basis can also help to desensitize the nipple/ areola.

How long after breast surgery before you can expect to regain nipple sensation?

Every woman is different.  Expect at least a few weeks, although it can take months or longer in certain cases.

Immediately following breast surgery, is it painful if your nipples get hard?

This is not a common complaint.

Is it normal to have sensation in my nipple but not my areola after breast surgery?

Everyone recovers differently, and different women will experience alternate patterns of sensation during recovery.  Usually both nipple and areola sensation will return over time.

Why do some women have more sensation in their nipple/areola complex after breast reduction surgery?

Sometimes, the weight of the breast is such that the nerves are stretched by the hanging tissue.  In some cases, once a reduction is performed, patients will note improved sensation compared to their preoperative sensation.  Also, the generalized inflammation from healing can sometimes cause hypersensitivity.

If the nipple/areola complex remains hypersensitive for a long period of time post op (i.e. a year) is there something that can be done to stop the hypersensitivity?

In rare cases patients will ask for surgical division of the nerves to their nipples.

You can also learn more about Nipple Repair here

  • Friday, 15 June 2012