The Incision Used in Breast Augmentation Can Affect the Sensation of the Nipple-Areola Complex

The incision that I have always preferred for a breast augmentation is the inframammary one (with rare exceptions). The reasons have been many including the relatively inconspicuous location and healing of the incision, better surgical exposure that facilitates precise technique and control, a reduced risk of developing capsular contracture (tight scar formation around the implant causing the breasts to feel hard), and what intuitively seemed to have a lower risk of affecting the sensation of the nipple-areola complex (NAC). No large scale study had been conducted to prove or refute my sentiment on the effect of the incision location on sensation until now.

A large scientific study was conducted in Italy that evaluated the possible effect of the incision location for breast augmentation surgery on the postoperative sensation of the nipple-areola complex. This assessed data from over 1200 women who had the same plastic surgeon perform their surgery over a slightly greater than six year period. Among the variables investigated were patient age, the breast implant size and whether the implants were placed above or below the muscle.

What the study found was that the implant size had no significant impact on the sensation of the nipple-areola complex postoperatively, an outcome that may surprise many. In addition, neither the patient’s age nor whether the implant was in a submuscular or submammary pocket, had any influence on sensation. The only variable that had a statistically significant association with reduced NAC sensation after surgery was the incision location, with the periareolar affecting 9.5% of women compared to 3.5% with the inframammary one which translates into a 2.7 times greater risk of sensory loss. It also had a 3.5 times greater risk of causing areolar pain.

Now there is even more convincing evidence supporting the superiority of the inframammary incision over the periareolar one for breast augmentation surgery.

If you would like to obtain more information on breast augmentation surgery or for any other plastic surgery procedure that I perform, or to schedule a consultation with me, please call my office at 480-451-3000.

Steven H. Turkeltaub, M.D. P.C.
Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona