Can you explain to me how after a Breast Lift , can a nipple die?

Doctor Answers 12

Can you explain to me how after a Breast Lift , can a nipple die?

All tissue is dependent on oxygen reaching it via blood supply. If the blood supply is compromised then the area it was supplying oxigen to will undergo necrosis ( dead tissue). Sometimes it can be partial necrosis or at times, full necrosis. Smokers have a higher chance of poor tissue healing. The microcirculation in smokers has been affected and therefore delivery of oxygen to the tissue is compromised. I hope this has bee helpful. Good luck.

Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 233 reviews

Loss of nipple post lift

This is very uncommon but basically if the blood supply to he nipple is lost during theoperation the nipple can die.this is made worse if someone is a smoker but overall with proper design and execution loss of a nipple during mastopexy or breast lift is very uncommon.

Robert Brueck, MD
Fort Myers Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 64 reviews

How nipples can "die" after surgery

Yes, this can occur one of several ways, but all causes result in the same thing: a devascularized, or poorly vascularized nipple. Nipples have to have good blood flow to and from to remain viable. Depending on the type of lift, nipples are moved on a pedicle. This is a bridge of tissue that connects the nipple to its blood source (and return). When this pedicle is too small, too long, is twisted, or compressed (usually by an underlying implant), it can obstruct the blood to or from the nipple. Other factors that can inhibit blood flow to the nipple include cigarette smoking, radiation, vessel disease from diabetes, and other medical conditions.

Chad Robbins, MD
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

Nipples can die

after any procedure that involves incisions around the areola as blood supply is compromised by the incisions.  Pedicles that keep the nipples nourished can strangulate or twist, cutting off blood flow to the nipple resulting in death.  It is distressing when it does occur.  If you have adequate nipple on the uninvolved side, a nipple graft could be done and provide a happy ending.  Your surgeon is primarily responsible for helping you navigate this journey to recovery and I hope you are not asking this because it is happening but rather just trying to get more information.

Curtis Wong, MD
Redding Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Breast lift seldom jeopardizes the areola.

A mastopexy releases the areola from the surrounding skin (and some blood supply).  Blood flow through the breast into the areola remains and seldom is the areola in jeopardy.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Blood supply to the nipple is critical in a breast lift or reduction

This is a good question.  The blood supply at the base of the breast very reliable coming out from between the ribs and through the pectoralis muscle but as the blood vessels course through the breast toward the nipple this blood supply becomes more and more random.  We rely upon a redundancy of blood vessels to make the operation safe.  Prior surgery, especially a subglandular breast augmentation can severely jeapordize this blood supply.  The same goes for smoking.  

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Can you explain to me how after a Breast Lift , can a nipple die?

Thank you for your question!  Basically, with breast surgery, viability of the nipple-areolar complex (NAC) is always a concern.  It is especially important when actually moving the nipple with procedures such as a breast lift or breast reduction.  Vascularity to the NAC should always be taken into account and should be preserved.  The blood flow to the area is already tenuous when the NAC is raised simply by cutting around it and the surrounding breast tissue.  Maximizing the vascularity to the area is critical and caution taken during the procedure to allow optimal blood flow by keeping the NAC attached to a reliable source from the underlying breast tissue.  Increased risk of necrosis is seen in smokers, diabetics, the use of implants during a breast lift, the degree to which the NAC is raised, too much compression on the NAC during the lift.  Your plastic surgeon will discuss the risks of nipple demiseand special care taken during the procedure itself.  Although a small risk, it is certainly present with any breast procedure.  Hope that this helps.  Best wishes!

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Nipple/areola necrosis after breast lift

It is uncommon to loose a nipple areola after a breast lift since blood supply is usually intact from these procedures.  Risk factors for this complication include prior breast implant surgery or excessive tension on the closure which can compromise the blood flow.  Could you provide additional details of your surgery or photos? 

John Michael Thomassen, MD
Fort Lauderdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

Breast lift

During a breast lift flaps are elevated separating breast tissue from other tiusse so as to elevate the breast. By definition some of the blood supply to this tissue may be compromised. In the worst case scenario the remaining blood supply may not be enouph to support the tissue remaining thus the nipple areola or other breast so lifted could die. It is a rare complication but can occur and does so more frequently in smokers. Dr. Corbin

Frederic H. Corbin, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 61 reviews

Can you explain to me how after a Breast Lift , can a nipple die?

In easy terms the blood supply to the N/A was cut off, either by direct cutting or compression by to tight a closure. The skin/fat/nipple/areolar needs oxygen from blood flow through the arterioles to the capillaries where the oxygen diffuses into the cells and carbon dioxide returns to the blood in the veins. Thus any force that decreases the oxygenated blood flow to these areas will lead to necrosis or cell/tissue death... Hope that helps...  

Darryl J. Blinski, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 174 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.