Nipple Reconstruction & Tattooing Options
Posted September 24, 2018
One of the last stages of breast reconstruction involves the nipples. This is the last stage to finalize the reconstruction process for the breast. Not every woman chooses to have their nipples reconstructed and not all women are candidates. Women that have not had radiation are the best candidates for this procedure. The effects of radiation, which can cause increased scarring of the skin as well as the small blood vessels, can compromise the blood supply that is needed for the reconstruction.
How does nipple reconstruction work?
Nipple reconstruction can be done under sedation or local anesthesia as an outpatient procedure. The procedure is about an hour to an hour and a half with minimal pain, if any, associated with the surgery. The nipple is made with localized skin on the breast or using a skin graft typically taken from the groin area. Most women are back to work within a few days and back to exercise in approximately three weeks. Reconstruction of the nipple can be done at any time after the breast reconstruction is completed.
What do I need to consider when deciding to have a nipple reconstruction?
There are a few concerns associated with nipple reconstruction that can influence a woman’s choice when choosing to have the procedure done after the breast reconstruction is complete. One of the most common concerns is the nipples will always appear erect as the tissue that is responsible for stimulation is not available to be used for reconstruction. The reconstructed nipple will not have any sensation or response to stimuli. If the erect nipple is noticeable through clothing, a pad can be worn, or thick, padded bras may also be used to help camouflage it. The nipple projection can also lose volume and flatten out over time. Most women choose to have breast reconstruction so that they appear normal in clothing and feel complete as a woman. Some women feel that the nipple reconstruction does not add to their self-image but to other women it may be an essential part of feeling complete.
The reconstruction of the nipple does not provide the redness to the nipple and areola. This addition of color is done by a medical tattoo specialist. There are multiple tattoo artists that attempt different results such as a 3-D visualization of the areola, but it is important to seek skilled professionals. A plastic surgeon may offer a good referral as well as a fellow patient that has already had reconstructive surgery.
Do you have more questions about nipple reconstruction?
Nipple reconstruction is a very personal decision and is best discussed with the plastic surgeon to consider all the available treatment options. Feel free to reach out to Bellissimo Plastic Surgery and Medi Spa to schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Antimarino either online or by calling (844) 496-6647.