How breast surgery can affect your nipples: what you need to know


Medically reviewed by T K Sankar, Consultant Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon

Breasts and nipples come in all different sizes and shapes – everyone’s are unique. They can be influenced by many factors such as weight, genetics and age, and can often be a source of low confidence and self-esteem if they do not look how you would like them to.

Some women decide to have breast surgery if they are unhappy with the appearance of their breasts, but did you know that nipples can also be corrected too as part of breast and nipple surgery? 

If you are considering having breast surgery and are wondering about nipple pain after breast augmentation or other complications, read on to find out more about boob job nipples problems in our latest blog post. 

Different types of nipples

Nipples vary by shape, colour and size. Experts have identified 10 key nipple features:

    1. Flat: remain at the level of the areolae, but they may become erect after stimulation.
    2. Inverted: retract inward instead of standing out like erect nipples.
    3. Everted: are erect, standing up away from the areolae even without stimulation.
    4. Unilateral inverted: a combination type, with one nipple being inverted and the other everted.
    5. Protruding: stand erect, further than everted nipples, even without stimulation.
    6. Supernumerary: also known as a third nipple - which is actually very common.
    7. Bumpy: have small noticeable bumps around the areolae, called Montgomery glands.
    8. Hairy: some people have lots of hair growing around their nipples.
    9. Puffy: the areola and the nipple make up a raised mound.
    10. Large areolae - the pigmented skin around the nipple can be quite wide (over 6cm width in females or 3cm in males)

Learn more about the different types of breasts and nipples.

Breast surgery types

If you are unhappy with the appearance of your breasts and/or nipples, the following types of breast surgery may provide you with the results you are looking for:

  • Breast reduction surgery (also known as Reduction Mammaplasty) reduces the size of the breasts and nipples through the removal of excess fat, skin and glandular tissue.
  • Breast enlargement (or breast augmentation) involves a breast implant being surgically inserted behind your breast tissue to make it bigger. 
  • Breast uplift and enlargement:  combines the removal of loose skin and the breast being reshaped and lifted with a breast enlargement.

During these breast surgeries, your surgeon will be able to alter the size, shape and location of your nipples as part of the procedure. For example, enlarged, protruding or inverted nipples can be corrected and their position changed, giving asymmetrical breasts and nipples an even look with the desired proportions and shape. 

Nipple problems after breast surgery

  • Uneven nipples

Following breast surgery, it takes time for your breasts to settle into their final position. Initially, they may appear unnaturally high on your chest, one may seem bigger than the other and your nipples may appear uneven or swollen. 

However, the healing process will take about three months – so if you have nipple swelling after breast augmentation there is no need to be concerned, unless this persists longer than usual. 

  • Pain, increased sensitivity or loss of sensitivity in your nipples

Sharp, short-lived pain may be experienced in your nipples after breast surgery. However, nipple pain after breast augmentation is typically normal and is just a sign that your nerve endings are healing.

If you’re worried that you can’t feel your nipples after breast augmentation, it’s important to realise that following breast surgery your nipples will experience numbness or tingling, as a normal part of the recovery process. Some patients may feel an increased and unpleasant sensation in their nipples.

This is because your nerves are starting to heal and recover following the procedure, and these effects will fade with time – usually within a few months. 

Key takeaways

If you are embarrassed about the appearance of your nipples, this can be corrected and altered as part of breast surgery. However, it’s important to be aware that you may experience some temporary side effects such as nipple swelling, nipple pain and nipple coldness or lack of sensitivity.

If you would like to improve your confidence, contact us to book your no-obligation consultation with one of our expert professionals, where you’ll be able to discuss your breast surgery expectations and requirements.

Our years of experience in the field of Cosmetic Surgery ensure that you can rely on The Harley Medical Group to assist you with a tailored treatment programme for any breast concerns you may have. We offer consultations with qualified Medical Professionals, as well as a thorough after care service to ensure that your experience is positive throughout your entire journey.

Posted June 7, 2021
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