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Nipple Surviving After Necrosis, How Long Does It Take For The Nipple To Return To Its Normal Color?

Hi, after a breast lift my nipple turned black on the outer part of it. Eventually the black scab came off leaving my nipple pink. I have some color coming back in different areas I was just wondering how long does it take for the nipple to get some color. It has been five weeks since my surgery.

Doctor Answers (9)

Return of nipple colour after a partial necrosis

+2

The pigmentation  is likely to take 9-12 months to stabilise. If any area remains conspicuously lighter coloured, you can get them tattooed - by a practitioner who specialises in nipple tattooing for breast reconstruction.


Birmingham Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Nipple/Areola Necrosis and Further Treatment?

+1

I'm sorry that you have experienced the complication;  on the other hand, you are quite fortunate that at least partial survival of the tissues has occurred. I would suggest that you wait approximately one year before evaluating the aesthetic results present and before determining the need for further treatment.  You may find that treatment is not needed.

Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 702 reviews

Nipple color changes after mastopexy

+1
The purple coloration indicated poor circulation to the nipple and you are fortunate that the nipple survived. If the coloration is still a problem after six months, you could consider tattooing to match the color of the opposing breast.

Robert L. Kraft, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

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Nipple and areolae color dependant on pigment producing cells

+1

Nipple and areolae color are dependant on normal number and function of pigment producing cells residing deep in the skin.  Pigment production from these cells can temporarily cease to fuction after being stressed by a loss of circulation.  A deep injury might reduce the number of these cells and permanently affect your ability ot produce pigment.  Waiting for more than 6 months or until scars soften and mature is appropriate.  If discoloration persists, treatment by tattioo might be warranted.   

Chen Lee, MD
Montreal Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Nipple survived after some necrosis, color changes?

+1

You are fortunate that the nipple has apparently survived.  Whenever there is some delayed healing or partial loss, some of the pigment producing cells can be lost in the process.  This would lead to areas of loss of normal pigmentation.  Sometimes this can be temporary and return to normal over many months or even a year or more, and sometimes normal pigmentation will not return.  I would give it a good long time before considering any kind of tatooing or other camouflage treatment.

Robert M. Grenley, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 70 reviews

Areolar color

+1

It is unfortunate that you had a complication.  You will have patchy colored areolas at best.  Much of the pink areas you see now are scar tissue that will turn white as it matures over a year or so.  Tattooing or a full thickness skin graft reconstruction might be needed, but it is too soon to tell.  I would wait at least 6-8 months.

Lori H. Saltz, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Will color return

+1

the cells that make color (pigment) are the most sensitive to low blood flow. they die first. the fact that the remaining skin survived means that blood flow was restored but only after the other cells perished. hypopigmentation is not going to get better. plan on getting a tattoo. don't worry, it works well.

Rafael C. Cabrera, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Nipple Surviving After Necrosis, How Long Does It Take For The Nipple To Return To Its Normal Color?

+1

RE: "after a breast lift my nipple turned black on the outer part of it. Eventually the black scab came off leaving my nipple pink. I have some color coming back in different areas I was just wondering how long does it take for the nipple to get some color. It has been five weeks since my surgery."

Every operation is associated with some loss of normal blood supply to the skin and with it a compromised ability to supply the cells with oxygen. Repeated operation, combination of certain operations and operating on people with a poor blood supply in the skin (smokers and nicotine users) particularly increases the likelihood of skin death (necrosis).

In your case you appear to have had a partial thickness loss of your areola. The degree to which it will become normal depends on the depth of the skin loss. If very deep to full thickness the pink tissue you are seeing is not normal areola but scar tissue and it would never have the same color as the normal tissue. I would give it 8-12 months to see just where it normalizes. At the end of that period, you and your surgeon may need to discuss areola reconstruction with a full thickness skin graft or tattooing the entire area, should it be needed.

Good Luck.

Dr. Peter A. Aldea

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

Color return after nipple necrosis

+1

You certainly have had good fortune as the poor circulation to the nipple has turned around and the tissue recovered. Some color will return in a patchy configuration, though the process will take a year. Some pink areas and pale areas may persist depending on the damage and over-tattoo to restore color can help. In the meantime, you can use a waterproof makeup to conceal.

Best of luck,

peterejohnsonmd

Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 27 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.