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Plast Reconstr Surg. 1998 Sep;102(3):701-4.

Normal cutaneous sensibility of the breast.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Medical School, and the Institute of Medical Statistics at the University of Vienna, Austria.


A total of 150 healthy women were studied to determine normal values for breast sensibility and to investigate the influence of breast size and ptosis on breast sensation. Cutaneous pressure thresholds were evaluated bilaterally in six areas including the nipple, the areola, and the skin of the breast using the Semmes-Weinstein monofilaments. We found that the skin of the superior quadrant was the most sensitive part of the breast, the areola was less sensitive, and the nipple was the least sensitive part. The cutaneous sensibility of all tested areas decreased significantly with increasing breast size and increasing breast ptosis. The nipple was less sensitive in women who had a previous pregnancy. Age, smoking history, or hormonal contraception had no significant influence on breast sensation. The study shows that the Semmes-Weinstein test is an adequate method for assessing sensation in the breast.

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