Nipple reconstruction is performed as a separate surgery after the implant or flap breast reconstruction surgery is complete. The reconstruction of the nipple and areola (the pigmented area surrounding the nipple) afford our plastic and reconstructive surgeons the ability to create the most natural-looking breast reconstruction results possible. ‘
One of our plastic and reconstructive surgeons here at the Breast Reconstruction Surgery Center, a “Center of Excellence” within the Long Island Plastic Surgical Group, will cover all aspects of breast reconstruction surgery at the initial consultation, including nipple reconstruction options. Together, our plastic and reconstructive surgeons will provide the necessary support each patient needs in this next stage of recovery from mastectomy or injury, while informing their decision regarding the type of nipple reconstruction that is right for them.
Graft Nipple Reconstruction
In a graft nipple reconstruction, our plastic surgeon will take skin from a donor site and attach it to the newly constructed breast. The donor site for the nipple can come from the nipple of the other breast in cases of a single-breast mastectomy, or from the earlobe or labia if a double mastectomy is being performed. The donor site for the areola can come from a variety of areas, including the scar from a flap reconstruction procedure, the crease of the buttock, or the inner thigh.
Flap Nipple Reconstruction
Flap nipple reconstruction involves the creation of the nipple from a skin flap taken from the area directly beside the region where the new nipple will be placed. Flap nipple reconstruction can be advantageous over the graft technique in that it keeps the original blood supply flowing into the new nipple and provides a greater chance for the successful acceptance of the graft. As the flap approach does not require a donor site, it typically results in less scarring around the area of the reconstructed nipple and areola.
Nipple and areola reconstruction is typically performed about three to six months after the first stage of breast reconstruction, depending on each individual patient’s timeline for a full recovery. At the initial consultation, our doctors at the Long Island Plastic Surgical Group will discuss which of the two main approaches to nipple reconstruction will best fit each patient’s breast reconstruction treatment plan, as well as what can be expected from the recovery period.
Please contact our team at the Breast Reconstruction Surgery Center, a Center of Excellence within LIPSG, for more information on nipple reconstruction at our Long Island and Manhattan, New York-area practice.