In this month’s PRS journal, a study of over 1200 breast augmentation patients reviewed the relationship between incision location and any alterations in the sensitivity of the nipple or areola.
Previous studies in this area were small, and had conflicting results. This study showed, quite convincingly, that the nipple incision for breast augmentation does have significant negative effects, compared to using an infra-mammary (“crease”) incision. In particular:
– the risk of sensitivity changes in the nipple or areolar area was more than doubled (9.5% vs. 3.5%)
– the risk of areolar pain was more than tripled (14.6% vs. 4.1%)
In this study, the was no relationship between implant size and sensory changes, which had been seen in some previous studies.
The authors concluded, that even though the risks of these nerve-related complications were fairly small, it was worth discussing when speaking with patients about the nipple incision for breast augmentation.
Editor’s note: Add this to the higher risk of capsular contracture with the nipple approach, as well. The data seems to show a pattern: the infra-mammary approach for breast augmentation has fewer complications.