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 recovering burn victims. This procedure can be a key component on the road to recovery, as it is to many of the New Jersey nipple reconstruction patients who elect for the procedure, because a breast can feel incomplete or artificial without a noticeable and natural-looking nipple.
What is Nipple Reconstruction?
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 approximate a match to the natural areola. There are several methods of reconstructing the nipple-areolar complex. Your body shape, your breast tissue, and your goals will determine the best technique for your procedure. The team at East Coast Advanced Plastic Surgery is always ready to meet with you to discuss your procedure, so don’t hesitate to contact our Englewood, Hoboken, or Ridgewood locations to get the process started.
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
Our doctors will conduct an examination and discuss with you your expected outcome to 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
Special Considerations for Nipple Reconstruction:
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 your ECAPS plastic surgeon 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. East Coast Advanced Plastic Surgery partners with nationally recognized tattoo artist Renee Maschinot, who specializes in realism and three dimensional appearance. East Coast Advanced Plastic Surgery will recommend follow up visits to evaluate your healing process. It is important to follow your doctor’s orders for the best outcome.