What is Nipple Reconstruction?
Nipple reconstruction is performed for several reasons. Patients with a history of breast cancer and mastectomy may have absent nipples. Nipple reconstruction is performed 3-4 months after breast reconstruction is complete. Patients may also be born with or acquire inverted nipples that can cause discomfort and embarrassment. Nipple reconstruction is performed to correct this deformity.
Who is a candidate for Nipple Reconstruction?
You may want to consider nipple reconstruction if you:
- Have absent nipples secondary to a mastectomy and have already undergone breast reconstruction
- Have inverted nipples
How is Nipple Reconstruction Performed?
Nipple reconstruction following breast reconstruction can be performed in the office under local anesthesia. The skin of the reconstructed breast is incised and folded in a way that creates an elevated nipple. For patients that have inverted nipples, the procedure can similarly be performed in the office under local anesthesia. The nipple is partially released from the breast tissue and brought into a properly everted position. Sutures are placed to keep the nipple in this position. At the completion of nipple reconstruction, specialized nipple shields are placed to protect the newly created nipple while it is healing.
All surgeries are associated with risks. Risks associated with nipple reconstruction include bleeding, infection, partial or total necrosis of the nipple, changes in sensation, and difficulty with future breast-feeding. It is important to talk with Dr. Rovelo about the risks of your surgery and how the risks can be minimized to provide the best possible outcome.
Nipple reconstruction is performed in the office, and it will take about 1 hour to do both nipples. Patients can go home immediately. Patients will keep the nipple shields in place until they are seen in clinic several days later. Patients will be able to return to light activity after one week and full activity after 4-5 weeks.