San Diego — Results of a recently published study indicate that women who opt for large breast implants relative to the available breast skin envelope risk losing more sensation in the nipple-areolar area than those who choose smaller implants.
The study, conducted by Mark M. Mofid, M.D., of the University of California at San Diego, and colleagues, looked at 20 women who had undergone primary augmentation mammoplasty. The researchers designed the study to precisely measure sensory thresholds in the nipple area in women who undergo augmentation mammoplasty by either the inframammary or periareolar approach. The study was reported in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
For just over a year, the researchers followed the 20 women who underwent primary augmentation mammoplasty with either procedure, with nine other women serving as size-matched, non-operated controls. The authors tested for sensation using the Pressure-Specified Sensory Device and compared moving and static sensory thresholds in the nipple area.
Although there were no differences in sensory outcomes between the two approaches, there was a significant, inverse relationship between the size of the implant and the degree of sensitivity in the nipple area.
“Plastic surgeons should feel comfortable counseling patients that augmentation mammoplasty by either the inframammary or periareolar approach results in no discernible differences in sensory outcomes,” the authors wrote. “At the same time, women who choose very large implants relative to their breast-skin envelopes should be warned about potential adverse sensory sequelae within the nipple-areola complex.”