Some breast reconstruction surgeries result in a mound of flesh on top of the chest. Since most women desire a natural looking bosom, nipple/areola reconstruction is a popular procedure performed here at PHX Plastic Surgery.
What Is Nipple/Areola Reconstruction?
Nipple/areola reconstruction involves creating a nipple and areola, typically by removing a flap of skin from the reconstructed breast or from another part of your body such as the inner thigh. Tattooing can then be performed to form the areola and add color to the nipple. Alternatively, women may elect for nipple tattooing alone and forego having any skin grafts performed. This will provide results that look somewhat less natural than a fully nipple/areola reconstruction, yet are nonetheless an improvement over a solid mound of tissue.
Benefits Of A Nipple/Areola Reconstruction
For many women, nipple/ areola reconstruction is the final step on their post-cancer journey and makes them feel as though they are finally complete.
Who Is The Ideal Candidate For Nipple/Areola Reconstruction?
Nipple/areola reconstruction should not be performed until after the reconstructed breast has fully healed, which is normally three to four months after surgery.
What Do I Need To Do Before Nipple/Areola Reconstruction?
You should obtain clearance from your primary care physician to ensure further radiation and/or surgery will not be required.
What Should I Expect On The Day Of My Nipple/Areola Reconstruction?
You will receive either local or general anesthesia to ensure you are numb. After removing skin from the donor area, your surgeon will make an incision in the center of your breast. The new skin will be formed into the shape of a nipple and secured in place with stitches. You will then be sent home and given a follow-up appointment for nipple tattooing approximately three months later.
How Long Does It Take To Perform Nipple/Areola Reconstruction?
Reconstructing the nipple will take around an hour or so, and another 45 to 60 minutes will be needed to complete the tattoo.
What To Expect After A Nipple/Areola Reconstruction?
You may notice some numbness or tingling, which should go away within a few days.
Will I Have Scars After Getting Nipple/Areola Reconstruction?
You may notice some scarring right after the reconstruction, but we will do our best to hide them when we perform the nipple tattooing phase.
When Will I See The Results?
After your initial reconstruction, you will begin to see the shape of your new nipple taking place. Once you have had nipple tattooing performed, the full results will then be noticed immediately.
How Long Will The Results Of A Nipple/Areola Reconstruction Last?
Your new nipple and areola are intended to be permanent.
Additional Procedures To Enhance Your Nipple/Areola Reconstruction Results
After undergoing a nipple reconstruction, you will want your breasts to look as good as possible, which is why we often recommend a breast lift shortly thereafter.