Left nipple darker than right after breast reduction. Is this normal? (Photo)

I am 5 days post op, and while I am healing quickly with virtually no pain, I've noticed that I have feeling in my right nipple, but my left is still numb and noticeably darker. It does have a refill capability, as when I press it the color seems to come back right away. Am I being paranoid? What are signs of necrosis? i just want to make sure it's not worse than jast bruising. Thanks in advance for everything.

Doctor Answers 5

All is Well

Thank you for your pictures. Your areola looks fine.  If you had necrosis, you would not have capillary refill. The area would look black.  

One nipple darker than the other after breast reduction

There are several possibilities as to why one nipple is darker than the other. It may simply be bruising. What is more likely however is venous congestion of the nipple and underlying tissue, which can happen during a reduction when blood flow to the piece of tissue which the nipple is connected to is not adequate to quickly drain the blood away. Often this will go away as the tissues heal and the breast re-establishes blood flow. Sometimes this can be permanent. It does not appear that you have necrosis, as this is apparent pretty immediately after surgery, and the nipple in this case would look a lot darker, almost black. 

Tracy Kayan, MD
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Left nipple darker than right after breast reduction. Is this normal?

Congratulations on having undergone the breast reduction procedure. The darker nipple/areola complex may be a sign of venous insufficiency. In other words, the darker side may not be draining  the venous  outflow as well as the lighter side. Best to make sure that your plastic surgeon is aware of the situation; he/she will always be your best resource when it comes to accurate assessment, advice, and/or meaningful reassurance. Best wishes for an outcome that you will be very pleased with

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,488 reviews

One nipple darker after breast reduction

Your left nipple ok at this point, perhaps with some venous congestion. Make your operating surgeon aware of this so they can follow it along with you to be sure things move in the right direction.

Paul M. Parker, MD, FACS
Paramus Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Normal Post Op Changes following breast reduction

It appears that your are healing normally. The slight darker area may represent some mild reversible venous congestion that is often seen following this procedure. Please check with your plastic surgeon should you have a concern.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 154 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.