Nipple reconstruction by Manhattan, New York, plastic surgeon Oren Lerman is a process of recreating the nipple using the patient's own skin following a mastectomy. While many women are satisfied with breast reconstruction alone as a way of achieving their post-mastecomy aesthetic goals, nipple reconstruction can further contribute to a natural appearance. During a consultation, Dr. Lerman can determine if nipple reconstruction is right for you.
If a mastectomy requires removing the nipple, but the patient wishes to achieve the most natural-looking breast reconstruction possible, she has two choices: surgery or tattooing. While surgery builds a small mound of the patient's own tissue into a nipple, tattooing uses ink shading to recreate the appearance of a nipple. One of the major advantages of tattooing is that it is virtually non-invasive. Patients do not need to undergo a second surgery or recovery period. However, the tattoo looks more realistic at a distance than up close.
If you have not already undergone a mastectomy, you may be able to take advantage of a nipple-sparing technique instead. This approach leaves the breast skin and nipple intact during the removal of the damaged or cancerous tissue, thus making a nipple reconstruction unnecessary.
Nipple reconstruction is not recommended until at least three or four months after breast reconstruction. It is usually an outpatient procedure. While the patient is awake during surgery, the entire treatment is performed under local anesthesia to maintain comfort. Surgery is typically finished in under an hour.
The most common technique uses small flaps of skin from the breast itself. After determining the ideal location for the nipple, Dr. Lerman will create the flaps of skin on the reconstructed breast and lift them to form a small projection that resembles a nipple.
While many women are satisfied with breast reconstruction alone as a way of achieving their goals, nipple reconstruction can further contribute to a natural appearance.
After your surgery, you will be provided with a nipple shield to protect the treatment site from damage and irritation while you heal. Shaped like a small hat with a flat brim, this protective covering is filled with an antibacterial ointment to prevent infection. The shield must typically be worn for three days, though the nipple will remain tender for another week or so.
If desired, the reconstructed nipple can also be tattooed to add more realistic coloring.
Due to the natural decline of skin elasticity that occurs as we age, the reconstructed nipple will naturally lose some of its projection over time. However, this can be easily countered with dermal fillers or other options.
Reach Out Today
Dr. Oren Lerman has many years of experience performing breast reconstruction and performs nipple reconstruction as a way to further enhance a patient’s aesthetic results. If you are going to undergo a mastectomy or have undergone breast reconstruction and wish to learn more about how nipple reconstruction can help you achieve your goals, contact our practice today and schedule a consultation with Dr. Lerman.
“The one thing that is most important when we're doing cosmetic surgery and aesthetic surgery of the face or the body is to make sure that the patient is happy afterwards...” Dr. Oren Lerman