Who is a good candidate?
Patients who have completed their reconstructions and are at least 3 months out from their last surgery and desire a nipple and areola. They may have had implant or flap reconstruction after mastectomy or have had central lumpectomy surgery where the nipple has been removed but much of the remainder of the breast has been preserved. They may have not had their cancer surgery as of yet and desire nipple and areola reconstruction be performed at the time of their mastectomy or central lumpectomy.
Consultation and Procedure
During your consultation, Dr. Schwartz will evaluate your individual case and formulate a treatment plan that is right for you. He will decide which of the many available techniques for nipple reconstruction best suits your case. The most common approach for nipple reconstruction is a surgery that just uses excess local skin to create the nipple shape. The areola may be tattooed later or may come from a skin graft harvested from an area of excess skin somewhere else in the body. Sometimes, when your nipples are large and you only require nipple reconstruction on one side, Dr. Schwartz can use half of the normal, healthy contralateral nipple to reconstruct a new nipple. Usually, a special protective dressing is placed on the new nipple reconstruction to prevent it from being injured. The scars of nipple reconstruction are small and well-hidden with the reconstruction itself.
Recovery and Results
The recovery from nipple reconstruction is quick, a few days at the most. Dr. Schwartz will remove your protective dressing in the office at the first post-operative visit and assess your result. You will continue to protect your nipple reconstruction and continue to dress with antibiotic ointment and gauze for two weeks after surgery. He will see you weekly until he is convinced you are healed. Three months later, many patients elect to undergo areolar tattooing if they did not undergo areolar reconstruction with a skin graft at the time of their nipple reconstruction.