If your surgeon was unable to conserve your nipple during mastectomy, you can choose to have a new nipple constructed. Your surgeon will wait to see the results of your reconstructed breast to ensure you have the best possible result before nipple reconstruction.
Nipple reconstruction has improved over the years and can be completed in a number of ways. Today it is common
to use a flap of skin from the surrounding breast tissue to shape a nipple.
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There are many different nipple reconstruction procedures. The differences in names usually represent the
different shapes of incisions made on your breast around the area where your new nipple will be constructed.
It's common for the reconstructed nipple to lose some projection over time. Flap reconstructions can be
supplemented with a small piece of tissue matrix to help
with long-term projection. Then, with tattooing, the surrounding area becomes the areola.
The reconstructed nipple is often completed as an outpatient procedure, using a local anesthetic.
There is usually no need for an overnight stay.
After the reconstructing and healing of the nipple, usually about 3 months, you can complete the procedure by having the areola area tattooed. Tattooing achieves differentiation in skin tone to complete the look of the breast. Some women opt to have tattooing only, without nipple reconstruction. It's your choice. Tattooing is completed by your plastic surgeon in the office and is a fairly quick procedure (it usually takes from 15 to 40 minutes).