Breast Reduction with Implant: Nipples Healing at Different Rates

I had a breast reduction w/ implant on 3/18 - my left nipple/areola complex has healed beautiful. It is pink, feeling has returned, and the incisions closed nicely. The right breast however, is seriously behind. I was wondering if this is normal for 3 weeks post-op and I'm just antsy due to the fact that the left healed so quickly, or something is wrong. I use a hydrogen peroxide/water mixture to cleanse it and then Bacitracin over it 2x/day. It's neither worse nor better in the past week.

Doctor Answers 7

Different nipple healing rates--is this normal?

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Your breasts look quite good and are healing normally, albeit at different rates. This is the rule rather than the exception. Do not worry, circulation appears good and you appear to have a good cosmetic result. BUT . . .

I would recommend stopping the hydrogen peroxide and Bacitracin, now. Hydrogen peroxide is helpful when a wound is contaminated, has recent infection, or is an otherwise "dirty" wound. In the absence of this, you are simply irritating the tissues as they try desperately to heal despite the twice-daily washings and application of antibiotic ointment. Hydrogen peroxide kills germs, but it is also (very mildly) toxic to normal healthy tissues. And in the absence of open or infected areas on your suture lines, Bacitracin ointment can actually stimulate an allergic reaction--this looks like mild redness progressing to tiny blisters and red spots, making EVERY patient and most doctors believe an infection may be starting. So what does the patient do (often with the doctor's awareness and agreement)? They slather on even more Bacitracin, causing even more allergic or hypersensitivity reaction. I have even seen family physicians start patients in this situation on oral antibiotic therapy, all the while continuing the Bacitracin which is the actual CAUSE of the issue. Hydrogen peroxide is similar, but usually does not cause allergic responses, just slows down the healing, which usually occurs in spite of (not because of) the wound care.

I worked in a wound care center for many years, as do many of my plastic surgical colleagues, and often the only thing that we needed to do to get a chronic wound to heal (such as in a diabetic) was to stop the peroxide washes, stop the hypersensitivity-inducing ointment(s), keep it gently clean, and let the wound heal!

Wash gently with soap and water (do not scrub or soak) once daily, pat dry, and let this heal without any further obsessing! YOU may be unwittingly causing your own delays! Let me know if I am right on this, please!

Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 263 reviews

Not unusual to have a difference in healing rate of two breasts

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It is very common for both breasts to heal at its own time. You need to think about breast surgery as of a separate procedure for each breast.  Make sure to follow your surgeon’s instruction as far as the postoperative care for the best results possible. If you concern consult your surgeon. Once the nipples are completely healed you can use treatment  to reduce the visibility of the scars. 

Will breast reduction scars heal differently?

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As Dr. Ortegon, my old frined from San Antonio, explains, these are two different operations which may heal at different rates.  The scars are appropriately red at this point.  There appears to be no tissue loss so I would expect good healing ultimately.

Neal Goldberg, MD
Westchester Plastic Surgeon

Breast surgery recovery

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Each breast may heal at a slightly different speed.  They both look nice and have a nice shape. Give them time to heal. If you have concerns speak with your surgeon.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Breast healing after breast reduction

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Yes it appears that all is well.  You can expect to have different rates of healing because they are essentially two different operations done at the same time.  Continue to follow the directions from your PS and allow some healing time.

Nipple Healing

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In bilateral procedures, it is not unusual for healing differences to occur between sides. This may be related to differences on breast size, tissue quality, or even which side you sleep on! Your healing is totally normal. You are dong excellent wound care, and your scars will heal well.

Karen Vaniver, MD
Kennewick Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Breast healing

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the Nipple healing in the pictures is completely normal. In a breast reduction or breast lift with augmentation the nipple and areola complex is move upwards to a more youthful position. There are multiple factors in healing such as smoking history, tension, underlying health problems, and bleeding(hematoma) or infection.

These can all delay healing. One side of the body always heals differently than the other but it seems like you are healing well after your breast augmentation and mastopexy.

Good luck. If you have any questions please check with your plastic surgeon.

Leo Lapuerta, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 48 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.