The breast skin is innervated by the:
- anterior branches of the 1st to 6th intercostal nerves for medial breast
- lateral branches of the 2nd to 7th intercostal nerves for lateral breast
- 4th intercostal nerve, both anterior and lateral branches for the nipple
areola complex with contributions from the 3rd and 5th intercostal nerves
These same cutaneous nerves supply sensory fibres and sympathetic fibres to
the mammary gland. However, the secretory functions of the breast are largely
controlled by hormones from the ovaries and pituitary.
Jaspars JJ, Posma AN, van Immerseel AA, Gittenberger-de Groot AC. The cutaneous
innervation of the female breast and nipple-areola complex: implications for
surgery. Br J Plast Surg 1997;50(4):249-59.