After breast cancer or serious injury, it is common to undergo breast reconstruction to amend the appearance of the chest and promote confidence and security. An important component of breast reconstruction is nipple surgery. As the final step in the breast reconstruction process, nipple refinement can lead to a sense of closure and completion. 

At Austin Face & Body, our ultimate goal is to produce results that appear natural, elegant, and nuanced. We utilize the most cutting-edge technology on the market to minimize your risks and expedite recovery. Our experienced, compassionate team is standing by to meet with you and discuss your options for nipple reconstruction in detail.

What is nipple reconstruction?

After breast reconstruction with either implants or autologous tissue flaps, the breast mounds require one last important step. Nipple and areola reconstruction helps complete the picture, providing the patient with a whole new level of self-confidence. 

Nipple reconstruction can be performed using skin and tissue grafting, or an areola tattoo can be used. With grafting, the existing breast tissue is elevated and tapered to create a realistic-looking final outcome.

How is nipple reconstruction performed?

The surgeon first marks the treatment area with a surgical pen to indicate where the new nipple will be placed. The exact location is something that the patient and doctor will negotiate prior to surgery. 

Surgery is performed on an outpatient basis under general anesthesia or local anesthesia with IV sedation and takes about 2 hours. Clients can return to work or school by the next day.

Woman smiling outside with the sun shining behind her

What are the different types of nipple reconstruction?

Graft reconstruction: During this procedure, the surgeon will harvest a patch of skin from a donor site and attach it to the breast mound. If a single-sided mastectomy was performed, the graft can be taken directly from the opposite breast. Otherwise, the skin is typically harvested from the labia or earlobe. Skin grafts from the inner thigh or the groin can be used to reconstruct the areola. 

Flap reconstruction: Here, a skip flap is taken from the breast area next to the site of the new nipple. The advantage of this is that the flap is connected to its original blood supply, minimizing the risk that it might be rejected by the body. Since there is no donor site used, flap reconstruction comes with minimal scarring.

Tattooing: Tattooing is the final phase of nipple reconstruction. It can help create a convincing, realistic breast appearance and provide the patient with newfound confidence. The tattoo is color-matched to the patient’s skin tones. 

What are the advantages of nipple reconstruction?

Women typically feel more confident when their reconstructed breasts are aesthetically similar to their original anatomy. Thus nipple reconstruction is preferred, as it helps to establish the most realistic and cosmetically pleasing breast mounds. After breast cancer, women who undergo breast and nipple reconstruction may feel more at ease in their own bodies and tend to be more at peace with the healing process. 

Who makes an ideal candidate?

Whether you have undergone breast reconstruction with implants or you’ve opted to undergo reconstruction with a tissue flap harvested from your own body, nipple reconstructive surgery or tattooing can help complete the final phase of your healing journey.

Most clients make good candidates for nipple reconstruction except in the following cases:

  • Radiation treatments have compromised the breast skin
  • Mastectomy resulted in overly thin breast skin
  • Lymphedema is present in the chest
  • There is a history of infections occurring in the breast area

What happens after my procedure?

Clients usually can return to work and school within 7-10 days. They can also resume driving at that time, although vigorous exercise is prohibited for at least 6 weeks. If nipple tattooing is desired after nipple reconstruction, it can take up to 3 one-hour sessions to complete the process. 

Providers who perform Nipple Reconstruction at Austin Face & Body

Dr. Chris Schneider

Dr. Chris Schneider is a plastic and reconstructive surgeon, who also specializes in microsurgery. He is a native Texan who is proud to return home to the Lone Star State after nearly a decade of intense surgical training.

Dr. Chris Schneider »

Austin Face & Body

Why choose Austin Face & Body?

Austin Face & Body is a leading destination for Texas area clients seeking outstanding patient care in a state-of-the-art setting. By bringing together among the brightest scientific minds in the industry with today’s most advanced, cutting-edge technology, Austin Face & Body is able to deliver exquisitely natural results that are personalized and elegant. 

Dr. Chris Schneider performs strategic breast and nipple reconstruction utilizing complex, precision-based techniques such as microsurgery. During an elite residency at Louisiana State University, Dr. Schneider refined his mastery of autologous flap surgery and today serves breast cancer survivors with compassion, skill, and consummate artistry. Call Dr. Schneider today to discover how nipple and areola reconstruction can help to renew your quality of life.

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