Is my Free Nipple Graft Failing? (photo)

Hi. I've recently had a double mastectomy. I'm FTM transgender. I'm three weeks post op. The doctor cut 3cm wide nipples and put them into 2cm wide 'holes', as they were 'supposed to shrink'. Left one did, but right one only shrunk a little and then got 'droopy'. It'd bleed a little from the underside and some from around the actual nipple (brownish). Now, the upper part cracked and I think I can see my flesh underneath. I'm freaking out big time. My doctor is not seeing me until Monday. Help.

Doctor Answers 4

Free nipple grafts

Nipple grafts can have this appearance after double incision mastectomy.  Typically we use silvadene cream on the grafts from the time the dressing are applied in the operating room until they are fully healed.  If yours have been left dry, like it appears they have, it might separate, and the resultant nipple may be smaller than it may have otherwise been.  There is no need to panic however.

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Nipple loss after FNG

It is hard to tell from your photo but is looks like some part of the graft didn't take. I would let your doctor know immediately so that they can make specific recommendations regarding care of the site. Even if you loose the nipple a new one can be made.

Nipple loss after FTM surgery with free nipple graft

 From your photo, it does appear that you are losing most of your nipple graft. However, you may still retain enough tissue for a nipple areola. Right now, the important thing is to keep the area clean, and to use an antibiotic ointment. Please let your doctor know what is happening. If you do lose the nipple, a new one can be reconstructed much the way we create nipples for cancer reconstruction

Karen Vaniver, MD
Kennewick Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Nipple graft failing

It is difficult to say. However, even if it failed partially or completely, you can always get medical pigment tattooing, so don't worry.  See your doctor. There is nothing to do at this time anyway.


Gary J. Alter, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

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.