After reconstruction of the breast mound is complete, the next step is to recreate the nipple and the areolar complex (darker skin around the nipple). This new nipple will not have the sensation of your original nipple. However, this will often restore a women’s sense of completeness by achieving the desired nipple projection and appearance similar to that of her original nipple and areola.
A small area of skin on the reconstructed breast is lifted and fashioned to resemble a nipple. Next, A piece of skin, usually from the darker pigmented area of your inner thigh, is removed and sutured into position on your new breast. The result is a nipple and a darker areola positioned over the new breast. A dressing that secures this newly created nipple is placed over the area and remains in place for 3 to 5 days without being removed. After this time period the patient returns to the office for removal of the dressing. Over the next several weeks you will be instructed on how to care for the healing nipple and areola.
The inconspicuous area, along the bikini line, on the inner thigh is closed with absorbable sutures, so there is little recovery time and maintenance needed for this to heal. There is minimal pain associated with this procedure. The time for recovery depends on how fast the new nipple heals. Patients generally return to a normal lifestyle after about one week.
See photos of nipple reconstructions:
To see examples of these types of reconstructions, visit our breast reconstruction Photo Gallery. If you had breast reconstruction in the past and never had nipples created it is never too late! Insurance companies cover the cost of nipple reconstruction so we can perform this even years later. Call our office to inquire or schedule a free consultation (904) 434-8100.