When undergoing a mastectomy, many women ultimately lose their nipple and areola during the procedure.
When this occurs, reconstructing these structures in a natural way is often the final step in restoring both your figure – and your feminine confidence.
An overview of nipple and areola reconstruction
Nipple and areola reconstruction is the last phase of breast reconstruction after a mastectomy. Designed to give your chest a more natural and finished look, the procedure is performed about three to four months after your breast reconstruction surgery, to ensure that the area has fully healed. The overall goal of this procedure is to create a new nipple and areola that very closely resembles the size, shape, color and projection of your natural anatomy, so that they appear as though they belong on your body.
Are you a candidate for nipple reconstruction?
In general, most of our patients in Baltimore and around the globe who have undergone post-mastectomy breast reconstruction can be considered candidates for this procedure if they want to recreate their nipple mound and restore a more natural chest appearance. However, if you have had radiation, or your breast skin is extremely thin or damaged, it’s important to note that it may not be possible to achieve an ideal outcome with surgical nipple reconstruction. In that case, Dr. Birely may recommend tattooing a nipple and areola on your breasts instead.
What to expect during your procedure
There are three different techniques Dr. Birely uses for his nipple and areola reconstructions, and they are all performed under local anesthesia to ensure your comfort and safety.
The first approach involves using skin from your breasts or another area of the body, such as the inner thigh, buttocks or groin, to construct an elevated nipple mound. To perform this procedure, Dr. Birely will extract a precise amount of skin from the donor site and create an incision in your breasts. From there, he’ll attach the transplanted tissue, carefully molding the area so that it looks very similar to your natural nipples.
The second method involves creating an incision in the breast and repositioning and rotating the skin to sculpt a new nipple. Once a natural-looking nipple has been created, Dr. Birely will use a graft from the thigh or abdomen to reconstruct the areola.
And finally, the third approach involves tattooing a new nipple and areola directly on the breast. This is the perfect option for women who are not candidates for surgical reconstruction, due to the quality of their breast skin or past radiation treatment.
As every women has different expectations, every breast augmentation will deliver unique results. No two bodies are alike. Your results will depend on your preconceived desires and the realistic improvement capabilities of a breast augmentation procedure. Your consultation, before your procedure, will provide a more detailed image of your final outcome.
After your nipple reconstruction with Dr. Birely, you can look forward to a fairly quick and easy recovery period. If your new nipples were created with a tattoo, you should be able to return to work the very next day without any side effects. However, if your nipples were reconstructed surgically, you will need to stay home from work for a few days throughout the initial healing process. During this time, you shouldn’t experience any substantial pain or discomfort in the area. Although you’ll be able to resume your normal daily routine fairly quickly, you will be instructed to refrain from intense exercise for at least a few weeks to give your surgical scars a chance to fully heal.
Schedule a consultation
Dr. Birely routinely provides among the most refined plastic surgery Maryland residents could hope to find. We invite you to schedule a consultation at our office today, and discover how he can help you achieve your unique cosmetic goals.