The most common cause of nipple necrosis (death) after any surgery would be poor blood flow. This would be an unusual complication, but smoking, hypertension and obesity will increase your risk for this complication.
What Cause's Nipple Death?
Doctor Answers (4)
Nipple and Areola Death after breast surgery
Nipple death can occur after several types of breast surgery namely: Breast Lift, Breast Reduction, Subcutaneous Mastectomy, Lumpectomies, and vary rarely even from a Breast Augmentation. The reason is usually because of compromise of the blood supply or infection. This is a very unusual event for a Plastic Surgeon that is Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
The Nipples and Areola, the nipple surrounding pigmented skin, rely on blood flow both arterial and venous) from surrounding tissues. During breast surgery that prevents blood flow from too tight of a closure around the nipple/areaola or separates this structure from its arterial or venous blood flow it may not survive..Smokers (nicotine constricts the micro-vasculature to the skin, nipple and areola) and patients prone to infection have dramatically higher rates of this complication.
Nipple death after breast lift
Nipples rely on blood flow from surrounding tissues. During breast surgery that separates the nipple from some of those sources of blood flow, the nipple may not maintain enough healthy blood flow to survive. This is a very rare complication of breast lift and breast augmentation, as most of the tissue underneath the nipple is left intact. Smoking dramatically increases the rate of this complication, as nicotine constricts the important small blood vessels extending to the nipple.
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Nipple Death from Poor Blood Supply..
The short answer to a very broad topic is that inadequate blood flow will cause nipple necrosis. There are many reasons for poor blood flow depending on the type of surgery, patient health and surgical design. A big cause is smoking!
These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.