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After Nipple Reconstruction and Areola Tattooing

Nipple reconstruction is often completed as an outpatient procedure, using a local anesthetic, and there is usually no need for an overnight stay. Here are a few things to expect and prepare for in connection with this procedure. Please keep in mind that everyone's experience is different and you should always consult your surgeon.

  • You may have a plastic nipple protector over your nipple, preventing it from being flattened. This will remain on your breast for about a week.
  • If you don't have a plastic protector, try not to put any pressure on your nipple to avoid flattening.
  • You may leave your procedure wearing a surgical bra that may need to remain on for approximately 5-7 days.
  • Your nipple may be discolored, swollen and you will be able to see your stitches. It will take about a month for the nipple to appear normal.
  • Most women do not have any feeling in their nipple following surgery.
  • Avoid the nipple area during sexual activity until it has fully healed.

If you opt for areola tattooing, your plastic surgeon may perform this procedure in his/her office. This is typically a fairly quick procedure (around 15-40 minutes). Here are a few things to expect and prepare for when undergoing areola tattooing. Please keep in mind that everyone's experience is different and you should always consult your surgeon.

  • The tattooing process is not usually painful but your nipple may feel sore.
  • Your tattoo may bleed ink and/or blood before it scabs over. You will have gauze to protect your clothing from the bleeding. The scab typically comes off over several days and will reveal your tattoo.
  • It is important to keep your tattoo moisturized so that the color remains intact.
  • Wear loose clothing until your tattoo has healed.

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