Nipple Reconstruction

“Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.” Coco Chanel

Recreating the nipple and areola gives the reconstructed breast a more natural look and can help hide scars. Once optimal symmetry between the breasts has been achieved, the nipple is recreated by lifting a flap of skin from the reconstructed breast itself and folding it in such a way as to create a small piece of tissue with projection.

The areola is usually created by tattooing the area or by grafting skin from the groin area, which has a tone similar to the skin of the areola. The scar from where the skin is taken can be hidden in the bikini line.

Nipple reconstruction SURGERY – FACTS

Length of surgery 45 minutes
Anaesthesia General or local anaesthetic
Hospital stay Day case
Risks/complications of surgery

Frequent: Bruising, swelling

Infrequent: Infection, bleeding (haematoma), delayed wound healing, nipple necrosis, asymmetry, loss of nipple projection

Recovery

1-2 days until socialising with close friends and family
1-2 days until return to work and normal social engagements
4 weeks until swelling and bruising disappears
2 weeks until return to gym and other strenuous activities
3-6 months until final result

Driving 1 day
Sleeping position Sleep on your back
Follow up 2 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months
Duration of results Long-lasting unless loss of projection

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Nipple Reconstruction

Any plastic surgery procedure is a very personal choice and understandably there are a number of questions that arise. This information sheet is a general guide for patients considering nipple reconstruction under the care of Dr Mackenzie. It should provide the answers to some questions that you may have.

Nipple reconstruction introduction

Nipple and areola reconstruction is the final stage of breast reconstruction. Nipple and areola reconstruction is offered to patients who have undergone breast reconstruction and occasionally to patients who have lost all or part of their nipple for other reasons. Approximately 3-4 months after the breast reconstruction surgery, when the shape of the reconstructed breast has settled, a new nipple and areola can be created. This two part process commences with surgical reconstruction of the nipple, followed by areola tattooing at a later stage.

However, you may be happy with your breast mound reconstruction and may choose not to have a nipple reconstruction at all. It is a matter of personal choice, however it does add realism to the breast and helps obtain symmetry especially if the opposite nipple is obvious through clothing.

What are the limitations of nipple reconstruction?

It is essential that you have realistic expectations about what the procedure can do for you. Although a natural nipple is sensitive to temperature, touch and will change shape, a reconstructed nipple remains a static shape and has no sensation; more often it flattens with time and maintains a slight to moderate projection from the skin. So before you decide to have surgery, please think carefully about your expectations.