Breast surgery and nipples: all the questions you wanted to ask

breast surgery and nipples

If you are planning on having cosmetic breast surgery one of the most common questions women ask is what will happen to their nipples. There are a number of things to consider before deciding the nature of the surgery that feels right for you, all of which should be considered thoroughly and discussed with your surgeon before you go under the knife.

Life stage and future life choices

If you wish to undergo a breast uplift, this has a big effect on your nipples as they are often repositioned as part of the operation. This is an important part of the aesthetics of the operation, as it is necessary to ensure that they are positioned in the correct place when the new size and shape of your breasts is determined. This can often affect woman’s ability to breastfeed as the tiny milk ducts can be damaged by this process. Depending on when you’re planning to start a family and whether you hope to breastfeed, you may choose to delay this procedure until later.

A breast uplift is the operation that carries the greatest risk to the chance of affecting the ability to breastfeed. Having breasts enhanced with implants does not mean you will not be able to feed a child, but this is something you need to discuss with your plastic surgeon when planning the procedure. 

The incision you choose and where the implant is placed in the chest area can have an impact – having the implant inserted in an ‘inframammary incision placement’ is best for women who wish to go on to breastfeed in the future. 

Nipples are likely to feel different after breast surgery

No matter what type of breast operation you have chosen, your nipples could feel different following your operation. Even if they have not been affected directly, if they are stretched over enlarged breasts due to a breast enhancement then the nerves that surround the nipples can be left feeling extremely tight and sensitive. This is perfectly natural and expected with operations of this nature, and it will settle down as your body adapts to the new size and shape of your breasts. 

Conversely, some women report a loss of nipple sensitivity after a breast uplift, reduction or augmentation. For most women, this is a temporary problem and it is a small minority of patients.

Breast surgery is a good opportunity to fix other problems

Some women suffer from inverted nipples, which isn’t always problematical from a medical perspective but can affect their self-confidence. Inverted nipple correction is a simple and quick procedure which involves a small incision and then the opportunity to turn the nipple to face outwards. It can be performed as a standalone procedure or planned as part of a more extensive cosmetic breast surgery operation.

Women are often dissatisfied with the appearance of their nipples – whether due to weight fluctuations, genetics, ageing or pregnancy and breastfeeding, they feel that they are too large and disproportionate or even misshapen or asymmetrical. Areola reduction or nipple reduction can also be performed as a standalone procedure or in conjunction with a breast uplift, reduction or augmentation.

During your consultation with our London plastic surgeon, every aspect of your cosmetic breast surgery procedure will be discussed in full.