Just wondering how the nipple reconstruction procedure fits into the entire breast reconstruction process... how is it done and when?
How and when is Nipple Reconstruction Performed After Breast Reconstruction?
Doctor Answers 2
Usually nipple reconstruction is done a few months after the breast mound is made. One wants to wait for some settling. This can be done at the same time as the symmetry procedure of the opposite breast.
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Nipple Reconstruction is a sign of success
Nipple areolar reconstruction is typically done towards the end of the entire process which may vary on the exact procedure done. Most plastic surgeons would not start the nipple without a reasonably high degree of certainty that the reconstructed breast is stable. You must also consider any surgery that may need to be performed for the opposite breast. That includes reduction, lifts and even augmentation. These should all be covered by insurance as an operation for symmetry.
If you have had an autologous reconstruction such as a TRAM flap, then it will be done after any issues related to your surgery are resolved. It could be done as part of a minor revision of your reconstruction. If you have had an expander and are ready for the second stage. It could be done as part of the exchange for a permanent prosthesis. Although, I normally would do this part of the time when there are no other issues. In my opinion, this is an essential part of your care as it provides visual cues to your brain that things are ok. I wait until I know everything is stable so as not to commit to soon. It is an outpatient operation with little to no pain. Hope that helps