Nipple Reconstruction Surgery FAQs

Nipple Reconstruction Surgery Frequently Asked Questions– 

Dr. Ali is a prominent board certified plastic surgeon in the greater Birmingham, MI area, with decades of experience and thousands of satisfied patients. With over 20 years in practice and extensive training, Dr. Ali is a Fellow in the American College of Surgeons, and has been rated Top Doc by Hour Detroit Magazine multiple years in a row. In this article, Dr. Ali discusses nipple reconstruction surgery, and answers some frequently asked questions about the nipple reconstruction procedure.

How is Nipple Reconstruction Surgery Performed?

Most often, the nipple is constructed from a flap of skin on the top of the breast, such as what is called the C-V and skate flaps. These procedures can be performed as an outpatient. The scar-based modified C-V flap can be performed for nipple reconstruction and scar revision at the same time.

Reconstruction of the areola is performed using a full-thickness circular skin graft from a different location on the patient’s body, for instance, the bra roll, a C-section scar, or even sometimes the inner thigh. Using a skin graft allows the areola to maintain a distinct topography from the rest of the breast, and it also enables the physician to hide some of the scars left by the mastectomy.

Does Nipple Reconstruction Surgery Require Hospitalization?

Nipple reconstruction surgery is almost always performed on an outpatient basis, meaning that a hospital stay is not necessary.

What Type of Anesthesia is Used for Nipple Reconstruction Surgery?

Generally, nipple reconstruction surgery is performed using a local anesthetic. Dr. Ali will inject a medication that numbs the area where the reconstructed nipple will be located. Under a local anesthetic, you will be awake during the procedure, although you will likely be given a medication to allow you to relax.

In the event Dr. Ali feels that a general anesthesia would be preferable, you will be given an IV (intravenous infusion), which would be inserted into a vein in your hand or arm and taped securely in place. Along with the anesthesia, a medication to relax you is inserted through the IV line. With this type of anesthesia, you will be asleep during the procedure.

Can I have Nipple Reconstruction Surgery During Chemotherapy?

Usually, nipple reconstruction surgery is the final stage of breast reconstruction. Chemotherapy is usually completed before breast reconstruction is commenced. Most doctors want the patient to be fully recovered from their mastectomy and effects of chemotherapy before beginning the reconstruction process.

Are There Non-Surgical Alternatives to Nipple Reconstruction?

Nipple tattoos are becoming an increasingly popular option for women who have undergone breast reconstruction surgery after cancer. Techniques have improved to the point where it is difficult to tell the difference.  Dr. Ali can refer you to a specialized nipple tattoo expert who can create extremely natural-looking 3D tattoos using medical tattooing.

How Long is Recovery from Nipple Reconstruction Surgery?

Recovery time depends upon the technique selected. If you decide upon a tattoo, you can return to work the very next day.

The surgical flap technique is a little bit more involved, and the length of recovery depends upon the location of where the skin graft is taken. Generally, the area around the newly-constructed nipple and areola are for the most part insensate, so most patients report minimal discomfort.

When the flap technique is used, patients normally take a few days for the initial healing and then can return to work. However, you should wait from two to four weeks before intense exercise is resumed, in order for the surgical scars to heal properly. In the meantime, gentle exercise such as walking is encouraged, and you can begin to walk as soon as the evening of the procedure if you feel up to it.

Is Nipple Reconstruction Surgery Permanent?

While nipple reconstruction surgery is considered to be permanent, the newly created nipples may flatten a bit after a length of time, and tattoos can fade somewhat. Additional procedures down the road to maintain the projection or color are not unusual, and are happily performed by our Birmingham surgical team – to keep your breast and nipples looking beautiful and natural.

Will My Insurance Cover Nipple Reconstruction Surgery?

If you are having reconstruction done post-mastectomy, both surgical and non-surgical options for nipple and/or areola reconstruction are generally covered by insurance companies.

While this article answers many questions you may have, if you are considering surgery to reconstruct your nipples, no doubt you have more. It is important that you select a surgeon in whom you have confidence, who will take the time needed to explain all of your options and put you at ease, and with whom you feel completely comfortable. If you live in or near the greater Birmingham, MI area and are considering nipple reconstruction surgery, schedule a consultation with Dr. Ali to discuss your unique situation and the best options available to you.

Typically nipple tattoo experts do not take insurance, but do provide information to the patient so that they can submit to their insurance for reimbursement.

Nipple Reconstruction Surgery – Birmingham, MI

Dr. Ali is a board certified Macomb County area plastic surgeon who has helped countless women get the breast appearance they love after breast reconstruction with nipple reconstruction surgery. He will offer you a consultation to answer your questions and offer you understanding advice about your nipple reconstruction options.

If you are a warrior who has undergone a mastectomy after battling breast cancer, we are here to help you improve your nipples’ appearance. Live your best life, feeling attractive and confident in your appearance, with beautiful nipples.

Birmingham, MI Nipple Reconstruction Surgery Consultation: 248-335-7200

Nipple Reconstruction After Breast Reconstruction Surgery

Nipple Reconstruction After Mastectomy & Breast Reconstruction– 

After a mastectomy, most women choose to have nipple reconstruction surgery to completely finish reconstruction of their breast.

No matter how skilled the plastic surgeon, surgically created nipples will never react like or have the same sensation as do natural nipples. However, the appearance of recreated nipples look very much like natural ones, and that can give women who have undergone breast cancer reconstruction procedures a sense of “completeness.”

Dr. Azhar Ali is a prominent board certified plastic surgeon in the Macomb County, Michigan area, with decades of experience and a host of satisfied patients. Dr. Ali has extensive experience reconstructing breasts and nipples for women who have had mastectomies, and employs the latest cutting-edge techniques to achieve the most natural appearance possible. In this article, Dr. Ali discusses the basic elements of nipple reconstruction.

Nipple Reconstruction Surgery Techniques

Breast reconstruction is usually performed in multiple stages. Nipple reconstruction involves recreating a nipple, and usually the areola (the pigmented tissue surrounding the nipple) at the apex of the breast mound. There are both surgical and non-surgical options for the nipple reconstruction, depending on the patient’s goals.

Most often, the nipple is constructed from a flap of skin on the top of the breast, such as what is called the C-V and skate flaps. These procedures can be performed as an outpatient. The scar-based modified C-V flap can be performed for nipple reconstruction and scar revision at the same time.

Reconstruction of the areola is performed using a full-thickness circular skin graft from a different location on the patient’s body, for instance, the bra roll, a C-section scar, or even sometimes the inner thigh. Using a skin graft allows the areola to maintain a distinct topography from the rest of the breast, and it also enables the physician to hide some of the scars left by the mastectomy.

Reattachment during Nipple Reconstruction Surgery

Many women ask whether their own nipples can be reattached to their reconstructed breasts. In some cases, the answer is yes. In others, it is not possible. The decision must be made prior to the mastectomy, since once it is removed, the nipple cannot be reattached months later. That being said, there are a number of techniques available that allow for the nipple to be reattached at the time of the mastectomy.

The Best Time for Nipple Reconstruction Surgery

Nipple and areola reconstructions most commonly occur as the final phase of breast reconstruction, usually about 3-4 months post-surgery, allowing the new breast time to heal. Surgery to reconstruct the nipple and areola is a separate surgery, and can be done as an outpatient procedure.

Complete mastectomies are only one reason for breast reconstruction and subsequent nipple and areola reconstruction. These procedures may also be appropriate following a central lumpectomy, where the breast itself is preserved, but the nipple and/or areola are compromised. Similarly, nipple/areola reconstruction may occur following oncoplastic reductions (where the tumor actually involves the nipple) or even non-cancer operations where the areola and/or the nipple have been altered.

Nipple Reconstruction is Not Mandatory

As with each aspect of breast reconstruction, whether or not to restore the nipple is a personal choice. While it can be done as soon as three months after the initial breast reconstruction, there is no time limit determining when nipple or areola reconstruction procedures can be safely or effectively performed. Many women want to have the procedure done as soon as is possible, but some wait a considerable amount of time – even five to ten years – to undergo the procedure. And, some women elect to forego the reconstruction altogether.

Alternatives to Nipple Reconstruction Surgery

Nipple tattoos are becoming an increasingly popular option for women who have undergone breast reconstruction surgery after cancer. Techniques have improved to the point where it is difficult to tell the difference. Dr. Ali can refer you to a specialized nipple tattoo expert who can create extremely natural-looking 3D tattoos using medical tattooing.

The decision to have nipple reconstruction surgery is extremely personal. There are many options available, and it is important for you to be completely comfortable with the procedure itself, and more importantly, with the surgeon who will perform it.

Dr. Ali has the experience, artistic skill and technical expertise necessary to enhance your appearance and accomplish your goals, as he has done with a host of satisfied patients. If you live in or near the Macomb County, Michigan area and are considering nipple reconstruction surgery, give us a call to schedule an appointment with Dr. Ali to discuss what options may be available to you.

Best Macomb County Nipple Reconstruction Surgery

Dr. Ali is a board certified Macomb County area plastic surgeon who has helped countless women get the breast appearance they love after breast reconstruction with nipple reconstruction surgery. He will offer you a consultation to answer your questions and offer you understanding advice about your nipple reconstruction options.

If you are a warrior who has undergone a mastectomy after battling breast cancer, we are here to help you improve your nipples’ appearance. Live your best life, feeling attractive and confident in your appearance, with beautiful nipples.

Macomb County Nipple Reconstruction Surgery Consultation: 248-335-7200

Protecting Your Breast Implants After Reconstruction

Protecting Your Breast Implants After Reconstruction

If you have survived breast cancer and a mastectomy, and have undergone breast reconstruction surgery, you have already been through so much! You are a warrior! So, of course, you want to do everything possible to protect your new breasts – and ensure that you do not have to undergo any further breast revision surgery.

In December, a new clinical study published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons reported that two huge risk factors –  smoking and obesity – can dramatically increase the odds of early implant loss after breast reconstruction with implants following a mastectomy.

The study was conducted at the Perelman School of Medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.The stated goal of the study was figure out which patients are at greatest risk for complications within the first 30 days after breast reconstruction.

In order to determine which risk factors were associated with 30-day breast implant loss for any reason data from the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program was analyzed. The study included more than 14,500 women between the ages of 40 and 60 who had undergone immediate breast reconstruction with implants after a mastectomy.

The results of the study were starling:

Smoking was shown to increase woman’s risk of early implant loss by three times!

And obesity as shown to increase woman’s risk of early implant loss by three times! Additionally, the more severe the state of obesity, the higher the patient’s risk of losing the implant was.

Other Risk Factors for Breast Implant Loss

Other lesser factors that were associated with a greater chance of complications included age, with women over age 55 being at slightly greater risk for implant failure. Additionally, direct-to-implant reconstruction – undergoing mastectomy and implants in a single procedure –  also increased the risk of implant failure within the first 30 days after breast reconstruction surgery.

Less than one percent of all patients in this study of 14,583 women (so about 14) experienced complication involving implant loss in 30 days or less.  Patients in to lower risk groups only had a, failure rate of .39% . But patients in the high risk group – due to smoking or obesity – had a failure rate of  3.86%.

This is actually quite a substantial difference – because it means that one in 25 patients in the high-risk group will lose a breast implant within the first 30 days.

The takeaway from this is that while smoking and obesity have a variety of negative health consequences, their impact on breast reconstruction surgery can be dire. We understand that losing weight or quitting smoking is a difficult uphill battle. But in order to ensure that your reconstruction surgery is a success, we urge you to find the support that you need so that you can give up cigarettes or lose some of the extra weight.

Top Troy, MI Area Breast Reconstruction Surgeon

Dr. Ali is a Troy, Mi area caring and compassionate board certified plastic surgeon who has helped countless women reclaim their bodies after cancer with breast reconstruction surgery. He will offer you a consultation to answer your questions and offer you understanding advice about your breast reconstruction surgery options.

If you are battling – or have battled – breast cancer, you are not alone. We are here to help you determine what you want to do, so you can move forward with your best life.

Troy, MI Area Breast Reconstruction Surgery Consultation: 248-335-7200