As a final step in completing their reconstruction, many women 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 women 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 and creates a very natural appearance.
Dr. Savalia also specializes in nipple-sparing breast reconstruction procedures, such as oncoplasty and the direct-to-implant approach. Nipple reconstruction is often performed following tissue expander or flap breast reconstruction.
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.
Dr. Savalia performs 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 you discussed with Dr. Savalia 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:
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.
If you have questions about breast reconstruction, my staff and I are happy to help. By working with a team of Southern California's most experienced breast reconstruction surgeons, radiologists, and nurses, we are able to provide women with the best possible options for one of the most life-changing and rewarding surgeries. Please contact us online or call (949) 759-0980 for more information.
Dr. Savalia is known for the most innovative, advanced breast reconstruction techniques. He is a board certified plastic surgeon and artist who creates the most natural, elegant, personalized aesthetic results. He is as renown for his care and compassion as he is for extraordinary outcomes. This is why he was named one of Orange County’s Physicians of Excellence by his peers.
Dr. Savalia’s Breast Health Center team includes the finest oncologists, radiation specialists, geneticists, and nurse navigators. Being cared for by an established team is a great advantage for patients.
"I prefer a light-handed approach that leaves my patients looking visibly rejuvenated, not surgically enhanced."