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July 3, 2024

Numb Nipples After Breast Lift? Here’s Why

Written by: Dr. Dahlia Rice. Posted in: Blog

Numb Nipples After Breast Lift Here's Why

Certain patients will experience numbness or changes in sensation in their nipples after breast lift surgery. While this is quite normal and typically goes away on its own, it can be alarming to some. Moreover, in some rare cases, patients may never regain normal sensation in their nipples again.

Do You Lose Feeling in Your Nipples After Breast Lift Surgery?

You may. And if you do, the cause is damage to the nerves that exist within the breasts.

There is a principal nerve that enters each breast from the side — moving from your back around toward your front to the nipple. Here, the nerve has several branches and is closer to the skin.

Most plastic surgeons performing breast lifts can avoid injury to the nerve, only incising the breast skin and the breast tissue that covers the nerve. However, they will need to create an incision around the outer edge of the areola. And this means getting awfully close to that nerve.

Breast augmentation surgeons typically avoid making periareolar incisions at all (and instead opt for inframammary fold incisions or incisions in the breast creases) so that they can avoid hitting these nerves.

how long does it take for nipples to heal after breast lift

Numbness in the Nipples and Breasts

If the nerve is damaged at all during a breast lift procedure, sensation in your breasts can change after surgery. Many patients experience numbness or at least a partial loss of normal sensation. This usually only lasts for a few months.

However, for some patients, it may take one to two years for the numbness to completely disappear. In other patients, full sensation is never quite regained.


From time to time, a patient will not experience numbness, but will rather experience hypersensitivity. Again, this usually doesn’t last. But in some cases, it may continue on for several months and then resolve.

How Long Does It Take for Nipples to Heal After Breast Lift Surgery?

Most patients will fully heal from breast lift surgery after approximately four weeks. It is typically at this point that patients can resume most of their normal activities and much of the swelling will have diminished. However, some patients will not see their full breast lift results for up to six months due to ongoing swelling.

FAQ: Changes in Nipple Sensation After Breast Lift Surgery

Can I breastfeed after breast lift surgery?

This depends. It depends on the extent of your surgery, your natural anatomy, the skill of your surgeon, what breast lift techniques are used, how you recover, and sometimes — chance.

Some patients are certainly able to breastfeed their baby after getting a breast lift. Sometimes, this means they can fully breastfeed (exclusively breastfeed). But other times, it means they can only produce and express a moderate milk supply, which would mean they would get the experience and benefits of breastfeeding but would also need to supplement.

Finally, certain patients are simply unable to breastfeed at all following breast lift surgery. This is typically due to damage to the nerves and/or milk ducts in the breasts during surgery. Because this is a very real possibility, it’s important that patients who are considering breastfeeding in the future understand this prior to committing to the procedure.

Why did I get puffy nipples after breast lift surgery?

Swelling is perfectly normal after breast lift surgery. In fact, it’s definitely to be expected. This can lead to puffy nipples for a short time following your procedure.

If you have puffy nipples prior to surgery, you may have a condition called tuberous breasts or tubular breasts. This is where the breasts are cone or tube shaped, the chest tends to be wide, the lower pole is shorter than average, and the nipples are large and puffy. Tuberous breasts are often sagging breasts, and they can be corrected with most breast lifts.

Do you lose feeling in nipples after breast lift or breast augmentation?

Either surgery can cause changes in breast sensation or nipple sensation. In most cases, it is caused by nerve damage, and you should regain feeling in your nipples after a short time. In rare cases, patients never regain normal breast and nipple sensation.

Will I have puffy nipples after breast lift

Can I get a breast lift after breast cancer?

Yes, most patients who are in remission from breast cancer can undergo a breast lift surgery. Naturally, you must get clearance from your doctors. But most patients can get this surgery in part to reconstruct their breast(s) after undergoing a lumpectomy or mastectomy.

Do they remove your nipples in a breast lift?

No, not completely. Breast lift surgery requires the nipples and areolae to be repositioned. However, this is typically done while the nipple is still attached by a pedicle (an artery and vein).

This allows the nipples to maintain a blood supply. The nipples can then be repositioned and reattached to the surrounding breast on the outer edges of the areolae. During recovery, you will wear a surgical support bra to keep your nipples and areolae in place until your incisions fully heal.

Set Up a Consultation Appointment Today

If your breasts sag significantly since having children or simply due to aging, or if you have breast asymmetry or tubular breasts, cosmetic surgery can help. A breast lift is a surgical procedure that literally lifts the breasts to create a perkier chest and a younger-looking silhouette.

Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Dahlia Rice performs breast lift surgery, among other breast surgeries, such as breast augmentation and breast reduction, at her Chicago practice.

Whether you are certain you’d like to move forward with breast lift surgery or breast implants, or you are still debating the best breast surgery for you, we invite you to contact us today and schedule a personal consultation appointment with Dr. Rice to discuss your options.


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