As a final step to complete their reconstruction, many of my patients who have had their nipple removed as part of the reconstructive surgery will have nipple reconstruction as a secondary procedure. This surgery creates a raised nipple and recreates the darker skin around the nipple (the areola) using a tattoo.
While some of my patients are comfortable without having nipple reconstruction, others may wish to have tattooing to simulate the nipple/areola and/or surgery to create a raised area of skin that approximates an actual nipple.
Nipple surgery can put a finishing touch on your breast reconstruction outcome. Contact us online or call 949-759-0980 for more information about this procedure and to learn why you should travel to Southern California for expert breast cancer care.
Nipple Reconstruction Techniques
A number of techniques can be used to achieve nipple reconstruction. The “skate flap” technique requires very little alteration of the overall shape of the breast. A special incision pattern is used to cut an area of skin and soft tissue, which is then folded to create the nipple. This skin and tissue is then replaced with a skin graft from another part of the body such as the upper inside thigh, to create an areola.
Other techniques such as a “C-V flap” or “double opposing tab” can be used, though the concern with these techniques is that they may slightly distort the shape of the new breast mound. This is because the tissue used to create the nipple is not replaced with a skin graft; rather, the surrounding skin is pinched together.
Why Choose Dr. Savalia
What to Expect
I perform reconstruction of the nipple on an outpatient basis. The procedure generally takes 30 to 90 minutes depending on whether one or both nipples are being reconstructed. The nipple will be recreated using the technique we discussed prior to surgery. If the areola is being created using a skin graft, that will be done during this surgery as well. The final step, which happens after healing of the reconstructed nipple, consists of tattooing both the nipple and areola to create the proper color.
Total recovery time following nipple surgery depends on factors such as:
- Whether one or both nipples are being reconstructed
- Reconstruction technique used (where the donor site for the areola graft is located)
- Any wound healing concerns following radiation treatments
Note that as it heals, the reconstructed nipple will not stick out as far as it did right after surgery. This is a normal part of the wound healing process. If you have concerns about the appearance or projection of the new nipple, an injectable filler such as JUVÉDERM® or Radiesse® can be used to add temporary volume.
Meet Your Team of Surgeons
Dr. Savalia is part of the team at Hoag Hospital’s Breast Center that specializes in oncoplastic breast conservation. Learn more about this nationally recongnized program providing comprehensive care.More about the team
I am happy to provide more information on nipple surgery and the complete breast reconstruction process during your private consultation at my office. Please contact us online or call 949-759-0980 for more information.