Nipple Reconstruction – Nipple areolar complex reconstruction
Nipple reconstruction is often intended for women who have lost one or both nipples to a mastectomy or lumpectomy, and may be performed at the time of breast reconstruction, or as a follow-up procedure. Nipple reconstruction has also been used to benefit post-burn victims.
The nipple shape is created with a flap of skin on the reconstructed breast. For reconstruction of the areola, skin is either taken from other body parts and grafted, or more commonly, the areola is made from the tissue used for the breast reconstruction. Once healing is complete, the area is tattooed to match the natural areola. There are several methods of reconstructing the nipple-areolar complex – the best method for you will be determined by your body shape, your breast tissue, and the goals you and Dr. Loghmanee or Dr. Cerio discuss.
Am I a good candidate for nipple reconstruction?
One or more of the following may indicate you are a good candidate for nipple reconstruction;
- You are in good physical condition
- You have had a previous mastectomy or lumpectomy and satisfactory breast reconstruction surgery
Dr. Loghmanee or Dr. Cerio will conduct an examination and discuss with you your expected outcome and determine whether your desires can realistically be achieved. You must come prepared to discuss your full medical history, including any medical conditions, previous surgeries or treatments, drug allergies, current medications, and use of alcohol, tobacco or illegal substances.
Cancer Treatment and Surgery: This is often the final step in complete breast reconstruction surgery. It is recommended that you complete any cancer treatment and wait until your breast reconstruction surgery has completely healed before undergoing nipple reconstruction.
Surgery and Recovery
Nipple Reconstruction is an outpatient surgery, usually performed with local anesthesia and sedation. After a few hours of recovery you will be permitted to go home. Your breasts will be wrapped in gauze dressings. You will be given detailed information from Dr. Loghmanee or Dr. Cerio detailing normal symptoms, signs of complications and instructions for recovery.
You should be able to walk immediately following surgery and will be up and about immediately after surgery. There will be soreness for about two weeks in the area of the reconstructed nipple, however, there is a lower chance for pain in the nipple due to the lack of nerves on the reconstructed breast. Do not engage in any strenuous activity for at least one week. Dressings will be removed within several days. Usually absorbable stitches are used and no stitches will need to be removed. Swelling and discoloration may occur. Once healing is complete, you may have your nipple and areola tattooed to achieve a more natural look. Dr. Loghmanee or Dr. Cerio will recommend follow up visits to evaluate your healing process. It is important to follow your doctor’s orders for the best outcome.