You may have read that FTM top surgery reduces certain sensations felt in or on the chest. For FTM surgery, because the breast tissue is removed from underneath the nipple, the amount of sensation lost varies from person to person.
Why does some sensation loss occur?
Breast tissue contains a vast network of sensory nerves that come from the branches of the intercostal nerves. These nerves travel on a pathway through the fascia that covers the pectoral muscles, landing on the surface of the skin. When breast tissue is removed to create a masculine-looking chest, the blood flow to the sensory nerves is affected and can result in the loss of sensation.
There are four types of sensations we can experience:
Tactile: This type of sensation is produced by the pressure on receptors in the skin when they are touched. An example of a tactile sensation would be touch of any kind, whether the sensation of your own skin when you touch it or the sensation in your hands when handling an object.
Temperature: This type of sensation occurs when we feel warm or cold. Temperature sensation is also called thermosensation. An example of this would be the goosebumps that form on the skin when we get cold.
Pain: This type of sensation is what makes you feel discomfort when you hurt yourself. For example, if you were to get hit, the nerves would send a quick message to your brain telling it that you’ve been hurt and you’d feel pain right away.
Erogenous: This type of sensation generates a sexual response and is often the most affected by FTM surgery because the erogenous zones and sensitive nerve endings of the breasts are removed.
What to expect after surgery?
In the days following your surgery, you may feel a numbness in the area that was operated on. As your chest begins to heal you may experience a burning, itching or prickling sensation. These are completely normal feelings and part of the body’s natural healing process.
Will you lose chest sensation after your FTM procedure?
It is impossible to predict if someone will lose all or partial chest sensation following FTM surgery. Because everyone’s breast tissue and the corresponding nerve endings are different, you will only know if you’ve lost sensation after the procedure is completed and your chest has healed. However, you can speak with your surgeon about surgical techniques that are designed to keep most of or at least some of the sensation intact.