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Reconstruction of the nipple and areola



The reconstruction of the nipple is the ultimate of breast reconstruction. The nipple reconstruction should never be carried out together with the reconstruction of the breast itself in the first operation because obvious alterations of shape might take place during the first to of a year after the operation and the final result can therefore only be judged after this period. Furthermore, assimilating correctional operations to the other side should be carried out first in order to be able to determine the position of the new nipple correctly. Generally, there are different ways to create a new nipple. Reconstruction of the nipple by local tissue

Operation technique

The patients choose the position of the new nipple before the operation. The reconstruction of the nipple is performed by relocating small parts of skin in the same region. A new nipple can be formed from the tissue at hand employing different techniques. Initially, the nipple has to be extensively larger, as it loses up to 50% of its size in the further process of healing.

Risks and possible complications

The most common problem when remodelling a nipple is making it too small. Therefore, the nipple has to be visibly larger than the opposite side directly after the operation. A further risk is the loss of the skin and thus the new nipple.

Follow-up treatment

A suitable bandage is applied directly after the operation to protect the nipple. This must be worn continuously for at least a week. Further specific follow-up treatment is not necessary. Reconstruction of the nipple using parts of nipple tissue from the opposite side

Operation technique

If the opposite nipple is big enough, the lower half of it can be used to form the new nipple. This is our favourite method as it is the most natural way of reconstruction.

Risks and possible complications

The main risk is the loss of the new nipple due to an inadequate blood supply. Sometimes there is a restricted feeling in the healthy breast, which may be temporary but can also be long-lasting.

Follow-up treatment

A suitable dressing is applied directly after the operation to preserve the nipple. This must be worn continually for at least a week. Further special follow-up treatment is not necessary. Reconstruction of the areola with skin from the groin

Operation Technique

Skin from the groin can be used for the reconstruction of the areola because the groin and nipple match in colour. A linear scar remains in the groin only. The skin transplant is placed around the nipple which is formed in the same operation and fixed with a dressing. The skin is completely healed after about a week.

Risks and possible complications

The skin often darkens after the operation which does not seriously affect the optical result. Loss of skin is rare. In these cases the operation has to be carried out repeatedly or, alternatively, the areola has to be tattooed

Follow-up treatment

A suitable dressing is applied directly after the operation to preserve the nipple. This must be worn continually for at least a week. Further special follow-up treatment is not necessary. Reconstruction of an areola by tattooing

Operation Technique

This is not an operational reconstruction of the areola. We recommend the tattoo to be carried out by a suitably trained beautician. It is a relatively easy procedure, although a few sessions might be necessary to carefully find the right colour and intensity.