At Breast and Body Center of Austin, we have several options available to women needing nipple reconstruction. The nipple and areola reconstruction is one of the final steps in a breast reconstruction journey. It is important to have a plastic surgeon who can create a natural and realistic nipple and areola. Austin, TX board-certified Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon Dr. Ned Snyder IV can provide you with a surgical and nonsurgical nipple and areola complex reconstruction.
The first method involves surgically creating a nipple with your own tissue and then tattooing your nipple and areola to your preferred coloration. The second method involves tattooing the skin for a 3D nipple and areola representation. The skin on the breast will remain flat, however the tattoo will give the appearance of the nipple. Many of our breast reconstruction patients feel that getting a nipple and areola complex reconstruction helps visually turn their reconstructed breast mounds into a more natural, feminine breast appearance. Dr. Snyder would like to offer you a consultation for a nipple reconstruction even if our practice did not perform your breast reconstruction. We also offer services to revise another surgeon's work. We would love to sit down and have a candid discuss about how we can transform your reconstructed breasts to look as close to your real breast as possible.
Nipple and areola reconstruction is generally performed several months after a breast reconstruction as an outpatient procedure. Under a local anesthetic, Dr. Snyder can recreate your nipple with your own tissue. This is done by building up the skin and shaping it to look like a nipple. A natural coloration can be added to the nipple and areola through cosmetic tattooing.
If you have concerns about having another surgery, we can help you decide if surgery is the best option for you. We can also suggest only having 3D nipple and areola cosmetic tattooing to create a nipple/areola complex without surgery.
Once you are home after your nipple reconstruction surgery, you may remove your dressings the day after surgery. If Steri-Strips are on your incision (they look like white pieces of tape), leave them in place. As they peel off, carefully trim with scissors. Do not remove strips if they are still firmly adhered to the skin. You may apply fresh dressings, gauze, and tape as needed. Once the Steri-Strips have fallen off, you may cleanse the incision with a mild soap and water, apply triple antibiotic ointment to the incision daily until your follow-up appointment. You must wear foam nipple padding at all times (except when showering) for the first 2 – 3 weeks after surgery. Do not discontinue until cleared by a provider. The pads will be provided to you by the hospital or our office. You may use tape or your bra to keep the pads in position around the nipples.
If you suspect that you have a fever (101º F or higher), an infection, or your surgical site appears red, feels warm to the touch, is painfully tender even with pain medication, or has a thick (white, yellow, or green) drainage (pus) – call our office to be seen by Dr. Snyder. Other issues or concerns can be addressed at your first post-operative visit.
Plan Your Procedure
- Recovery Time
- 2 – 4 Weeks
- Average Procedure Time
- 1 Hour
- Post-op Follow-up
- 7 days
- Procedure Recovery Location
Nipple Reconstruction FAQs
What Medication Is Needed?
Only take your pain medication as prescribed. If you find that the medication does not work for you, please notify us and we can prescribe different medication. Please check with Dr. Snyder before adding or changing your medication. Take the full course of antibiotics if they were prescribed. Not all nipple and areola reconstruction requires antibiotics afterwards. Do not discontinue the antibiotic early as this can make you susceptible to infection with resistant bacteria.
Will there be a hospital stay?
No. The nipple and areola reconstruction is performed as an outpatient procedure. You will only need a local anesthetic for this procedure. Dr. Snyder will set up a timeline for your surgeries. It is very important to follow all the instructions for aftercare.
Will I feel My Nipples Again?
Unfortunately, you will not have sensation in your nipples like you did before the mastectomy and breast reconstruction. The aesthetics of your breasts will be improved to look more feminine and with the normal features of the female breasts, but sensations will be minimal.