Breast augmentation is the number one cosmetic surgical procedure that women undergo. It is also among the top two in overall satisfaction with 94% stating that if they had to do it all over again they would still make the same decision. That is an amazingly high number particularly in light of all the risks and complications that plastic surgeons must discuss with their patients prior to this breast enlargement surgery.
One of these risks in breast augmentation and one which I review in detail with my patients is the occurrence of numbness of the nipples and the breast skin in general. How common is numbness of the nipples? Is it temporary or permanent?
As with many surgical procedures where incisions are made and the skin elevated (lifted), there will be some postoperative numbness, albeit usually transient, and such is the case with breast enlargement surgery. Right after surgery, the skin of both breasts can/will be somewhat numb which is also compounded by the initial swelling. Over a period of a few weeks, most if not all of this will resolve in a majority of women; others can take several months. There is a very small percentage of women who may take a year or more for their sensation to return.
The incidence of permanent loss of sensation of the nipples as identified by several studies is around the 3 – 5% range though in my practice, it is extremely rare. This risk is influenced by many factors including surgical technique, skill of the surgeon, incision location and breast implant size. Incisions placed around the areola have a substantially greater risk of resulting in temporary and permanent numbness than those placed through one situated either in the lower breast crease (inframammary fold) or the armpit (axillary approach). Breast implants that are disproportionately large in relation to the chest wall and starting breast size also elevate the risk.
For more information on breast augmentation surgery in Scottsdale or on any other plastic surgery procedure that I perform or to schedule a free consultation with me, please call my office at 480-451-3000.
Steven H. Turkeltaub, M.D. P.C.
Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona