Dr. Saber’s Blog

Will I Really Lose Nipple Sensitivity After Breast Surgery?

What is the nipple-areola complex?

The nipple and the areola each serve different roles. The nipple is a sensory unit of the breast and is part of a women’s psychological and sexual health — making preservation of its sensation vitally important. The areola is a small, pigmented ring of skin around the nipple. Areolae have glands that secrete a lubricating oil that protects the nipple from chafing during breastfeeding.

During breast surgery, the surgeon avoids an area called the “unsafe zone” to maintain normal sensation and maximize patient outcomes.

Why is my nipple sensitive after surgery?

Many patients experience some changes in nipple sensitivity after breast surgery. Individual results for all breast surgeries may vary.

After plastic surgery, patients may experience the following changes in the nipple area:

  • a temporary decrease in nipple sensitivity
  • hypersensitivity
  • numbness

These are the normal, temporary side effects of breast surgery until breast sensation returns to normal; permanent loss of sensation is rare.

The impact on the nipple-areola complex varies based on the surgery being performed.

Breast augmentation surgery

One of the most common concerns for breast augmentation patients is a loss of nipple sensitivity and/or numbness in the entire breast.

Breast implant size and placement can both affect nipple sensation. Larger implants may temporarily stretch the nerves involved with nipple sensation. This stretching can irritate the nerve, and cause swelling and changes in sensation. Placing the implant behind the pectoral muscles — rather than on top of them — is also less likely to affect nipple sensation.

The incision your surgeon uses can also impact nipple sensation and changes. A periareolar incision — a cut made around the areola — is most likely to cause temporary changes in nipple sensation.

The nipple sensation changes experienced during breast augmentation recovery usually resolve after a few months. Loss of nipple sensation can occur, but the incidence is very low and temporary, especially when working with a talented plastic surgeon.

Nipple Sensitivity Changes After Breast Surgery

Breast Lift

breast lift (mastopexy) is a cosmetic surgery procedure that:

  • Removes excess skin.
  • Raises sagging breasts to a firmer, perkier shape.
  • Fixes asymmetry between the breasts.
  • Lifts drooping areolas to a more raised position.
  • Corrects the size of excessively large or asymmetric areolae.

A breast lift doesn’t change breast size, but it pairs well with a breast reduction or breast augmentation.

Nipple sensitivity changes after a breast lift resolves within a few weeks or months; erotic sensation usually isn’t affected. Breast tissue lying over the nerve protects you from changes in nipple sensation after breast lift.

Breast reduction surgery

Excessively large breasts can cause physical discomfort and psychological distress in all people.

As a woman in a largely male-dominated field, Dr. Saber prides herself on bringing a more sensitive approach to plastic surgery for patients of all genders.

There are several reasons to opt for a breast reduction (reduction mammoplasty) surgical procedure, such as:

  • Gynecomastia — a hormonal imbalance that results in extra breast tissue.
  • Gender-affirming care — trans and nonbinary patients sometimes opt for breast reduction or a mastectomy.
  • Pain and discomfort — many women experience pain, rash, or ulceration caused by excess breast tissue.

Patients removing a large amount of breast tissue are at a higher risk of changed nipple sensation. The nipple-areola complex may have to be moved to sit more naturally on the chest. Severing and moving the nipple will disrupt nipple sensation. Non-erotic sensation typically returns in months to years following surgery.

Breast reconstruction surgery

The goal of breast reconstruction is to restore one or both breasts to near-normal shape, appearance, and symmetry. There are several reasons why reconstruction may be desired including:

  • poor outcome from breast implant surgery
  • mastectomy
  • lumpectomy
  • breast trauma
  • congenital deformities

Post-cancer breast reconstruction after mastectomy — partial or complete — or lumpectomy can be an important part of cancer treatment recovery. Some patients decide to have nipple reconstruction surgery as well to create a new nipple and restore nipple sensitivity.

Nipple reconstruction involves rebuilding a nipple’s shape from the surrounding tissue. After a successful reconstruction, patients can expect to have a natural-looking nipple. But the reconstructed nipple is not likely to have a full sensation.

In some cases, mastectomy spares the nipple-areolar region, making nipple reconstruction unnecessary. After nipple-sparing mastectomy, the nipple may regain some feeling but will not typically regain full sensation. 

To match the color of the nipple and areola of the other breast, tattooing may be done a few months after the surgery.

Is nipple sensitivity a sign of breast cancer?

Sore, sensitive nipples can be caused by hormonal changes from pregnancy or menstruation, allergies, or friction from clothing. In rare cases, it can be a sign of a serious disease like breast cancer. If you’re experiencing soreness, sensitivity, or pain that’s accompanied by discharge or lumps see a doctor as soon as possible.

Nipple Sensitivity Changes After Breast Surgery

What is inverted nipple surgery?

Nipple inversion is a condition affecting 2-10% of women; men can also have this condition. Nipple inversion can cause the following:

  • psychological discomfort
  • functional problems that prevent adequate breastfeeding
  • cosmetic dissatisfaction
  • local irritation and infection

Inverted nipples indent more than they protrude and can occur on one or both breasts. It’s usually a natural occurrence that doesn’t cause health complications and doesn’t affect nipple sensitivity. In general, inverted nipple correction doesn’t impact nipple sensation.

Why choose Dr. Saber for your breast plastic surgery?

Dr. Sepideh Saber is a board-certified plastic surgeon providing cosmetic procedures and surgeries from a more sensitive, female perspective for patients of all ages, genders, and orientations. She ensures that all questions are answered so that each patient can make a truly well-informed decision.

Keeping her patients safe remains her top priority. She employs the latest state-of-the-art techniques and performs her procedures in the top surgical centers and hospitals, where she enjoys full admitting privileges.

Schedule a consultation online or call (877) 205-4100 to request a consultation today.

Dr. Saber is located in Encino, CA for patients throughout the Los Angeles area. We are also convenient to Encino, Woodland Hills, Sherman Oaks, Calabasas, Burbank, Glendale, Hidden Hills, Agoura Hills, Northridge, North Hollywood, Malibu, Topanga, Canoga Park, Reseda, Valley Glen, Chatsworth, West Hills, Winnetka, Universal City, Bel Air, Beverly Hills, Downtown Los Angeles, Silverlake, and Echo Park.

Dr. Saber graduated from Stanford University’s world-renowned medical school and did her plastic and reconstructive surgery residency at the equally lauded University of Southern California. She then completed a fellowship at New York University in the extremely challenging and delicate disciplines of hand surgery and microsurgery.

Dr. Saber offers a more sensitive, female perspective for patients of all ages, genders, and orientations. Former patients from all walks of life have praised not only their treatment outcomes but her caring, thoughtful approach to a wide array of appearance and health-related matters.
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    Dr. Sepideh Saber, MD, FACS

    👩🏻‍⚕️ Board Certified Plastic Surgeon
    🏫 Stanford/USC/NYU Trained
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Give us a call to set up a complimentary consultation with #DrSaber who will create a customized plan for you!
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  • What patients say about Dr. Saber

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    I was fortunate to find Dr. Saber after researching board-certified surgeons who specialize in breast cancer reconstruction revision surgery. I knew I was in good hands from the moment I spoke with the lovely and efficient Marlene, Dr Saber's office manager. Dr Saber patiently listened to my concerns and, after examining me, explained what I could realistically expect the outcome to be from another surgery. She also explained to me that she would need to review my previous surgery notes before we could discuss a possible further surgery, which I found comforting and highly ethical. I also discussed a couple of other procedures that I would like done, including fat removal from my large upper arms that had caused me great embarrassment for several years. Dr. Saber is an excellent surgeon who is incredibly kind and genuine. She truly understands the female body and the emotional aspect of body insecurities yet, she is transparent about what can and cannot be done and takes time to discuss realistic expectations and outcomes. My breast reconstruction revision surgery will take place in the New Year, but in the meantime, I have the most fabulous upper arms that I recently flaunted in a strapless dress (something I have not done in years). Dr Saber is truly one of a kind, and I still cannot believe how fortunate I am to have found her. I highly recommend Dr Saber.

    Linda DeCarlo November 29, 2023

    I don’t have enough wonderful words to describe Dr Saber and Marlene! I had a tummy tuck done this year and from start to finish the entire experience was amazing. Marlene is always so helpful and works so hard to make every detail a breeze for you. When I had my consultation with Dr Saber I was at a point of complete agony with my body. She instantly took that stress and frustration off my shoulders! As a woman not being heard by doctors for years I left that consultation with happy tears knowing I had finally found my Dr. It was a major surgery and I felt completely zen and at peace going in because she really does make you feel that safe. I didn’t think I would ever look the way I do now! She gave me the gift of having the body I kept fighting for. I will never stop recommending her.

    Monica Prusa October 9, 2023

    I saw Dr. Saber when I broke my wrist. I ended up having to have surgery. She did an excellent job and I am healing nicely. She was very professional, but was also very kind and compassionate. I would highly recommend her!!

    Sandy Schaupp September 13, 2022

    I LOVED DR SABER!!! There are a few reasons why I chose her. One was because she’s a female Doctor that was my goal who also did a good job (which I was able to confirm with all her before and after photos) and what sold me was my safety in mind. She made me feel like I was in the best hands ever along with Marlene who coordinated everything THANK YOU LADIES! Dr Saber helped me get back the body I have always desired. I had a lot of stomach fat from weight gain and I lost weight so a lot of my weight was in my front lower and upper abdomen. Now I have a super beautiful curvy body like an hourglass after a tummy tuck and lipo she did. She understood the assignment hahaha . I’m 32 years old no kids just wanted to enjoy my younger body looking and feeling beautiful and she really took good care of me. Even after hours I had an emergency due to my fault but she was there and got back to me very quickly and I’m very grateful. I also think her work says a lot because I stopped taking pain medication on the 3rd day after surgery and was fine with very minimal pain I was able to tolerate the healing process. Highly recommend going with her I just had a wonderful experience and would do it all over again if I had too. Maybe after I have kids. Thanks Dr Saber and team <3

    STEPHANIE d July 15, 2022

    Dr.Saber is by far one of the best plastic surgeons. I love how she takes her time to explain any procedure to the patients understanding. She always makes sure to answers any and all questions.From fillers to body contours she’s the one you want.

    Katherine Melara February 15, 2022

    Dr Saber is amazing! She is caring and very informative. I went in for fillers and she explained procedure step by step. I highly recommend her and look forward to future visits.

    Amanda Vazquez December 18, 2020

    Dr. Saber was friendly, knowledgeable and professional. She took time to listen, answer all my questions and was forthright in her recommendations. Her staff was friendly and helpful. I was very happy with the results and plan on going back. If you are looking for a first rate professional experience look no further she is the doctor for you!

    T R December 18, 2020

    Dr. Saber is one of a kind plastic surgeon with a heart of gold. She is a well verse plastic surgeon that puts her patient's needs before anything else. She genuinely cares about every single patient, and her work speaks for itself. I notice every post-operative result on her Instagram (@saberplasticsurgery) the patients have this glow that radiates through. I have been going to Dr. Saber for my Botox for the past 3 years, and love the results every time. I know who I will be going to for any future plastic surgery needs, and will confidently refer family and friends to Dr. Saber for any Botox, fillers, and plastic surgery consultations.

    Rudy Garcia December 16, 2020

    I have nothing but great things to say about Dr. Saber! I am so pleased with my results from a breast augmentation she performed on me back in late June! She answered all my questions and concerns before and after my surgery. She’s very easy to get in contact with and she’s so nice. She made feel so comfortable throughout the whole process. 100/10 Lover her work!!

    Amanda Villegas October 15, 2020

    Dr Saber is hands down the best surgeon! She took her time answering my questions and explained procedure in detail. After doing liposuction six months ago, I am extremely happy with my results and I appreciate her so much.

    Marlene Cosentino October 15, 2020

    Dr. Saber is so kind and thorough with her patients! She is an amazing doctor and genuinely cars about everyone she comes in contact with. I would recommend her to anyone for any hand surgery or cosmetic procedure.

    Rachel Meach October 15, 2020