Nearing the end of a year long ordeal with breast cancer, reconstructive surgery. I have had the nipple reconst done approx 4 weeks ago and I am concerned that are going to have too much projection. I hate "headlights" so just a little projection or even texture is fine with me. My fault for not getting more information from my doc. What can I do without killing the tissue of the nipples to get them to shrink or reduce the projection. I use 4x4 gauze pads with holes in them for protection.
What if my New Nipples Have Too Much Projection? Easy to Do or Leave Them Alone?
Doctor Answers 7
Thank you for your question!
As your procedure was performed fairly recently, I would give it a
little more time for the nipples to flatten. If you will still end up
not happy with the amount of projection, I would recommend going back
to your board certified plastic surgeon to let him know. A simple in
office procedure is feasible in order to correct too much projection.
Dr. Sam Speron
Too much nipple
Nipple reconstructions shrink with time.
At 4 weeks, the nipples are likely to continue to shrink. The nipple reconstruction procedure always makes the nipples over-projecting. This is because the nipple will flatten as the scar matures inside the nipple. An over-projecting nipple is very easy to correct, however increasing projection in a flat nipple is extremely difficult. If the nipple projection is still too much at 8-10 weeks, then a simple office procedure can correct it.
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Nipple projection following reconstruction
It is very common to make nipples over-project at the time of reconstruction, because they will almost always flatten over time. I would generally recommend waiting at least a year, and if they maintain more projection than you desire, it is a simple procedure to make them smaller. Discuss the situation with your surgeon, as you can both assess the amount of projection you currently have versus your desired long-term outcome. The revision can technically be performed at any time.
My response to your question/post does not represent formal medical advice or constitute a doctor patient relationship. You should continue to follow-up with your plastic surgeon in order to receive a formal evaluation and maintain your doctor patient relationship.
Nipple projection with reconstruction
If you are lucky they will stay somewhat projected in the long run. It is extremely common to make them larger than one wants initially because most reduce by about 50% or more over time. Be patient they can always be reduced if they stay too large.
Post mastectomy reconstruction nipple projection is easy to reduce.
You should wait another three months, because sometimes nipples shrink by themselves. If they are still too projecting then, it is very easy to make them smaller under local anesthesia with a minor procedure.
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.