Nipple Loss After Breast Reduction? (photo)

I had a breast reduction 1 week ago. My right nipple did not look good following the surgery. At first it was thought it was bruising, but now my PS is quite concerned. It has turned from purple to black and has dried. I am worried and scared. I am wondering if there is anything I can do other than wait for my nipple to fall off. I have been put on Nitrol ointment and do not smoke. Waiting, of course is very difficult. Thanks for your input.

Doctor Answers 4

Purple nipple after breast reduction

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Dear Brodie,

I am sorry that this has happened - it is a difficult time.  It looks like you have a very nice shape to your breasts and I hope that you will have a good result in the long term.

In the short term, it is very distressing to see the nipple look discoloured, but it is a well recognised complication of breast reduction surgery.  You really need to work closely with your surgeon when things like this happen.  Make sure the dressings are not too tight and when things are dry like this, there is not much to be done.  I would recommend that you try to stay positive and eat well and stay healthy.  Sometimes just the top layer of skin blisters off which may leave some scarring of the areola, but the final cosmetic result is often surprisingly good.  Becuase the areola is a pinky colour anyway, it can look relatively normal even if it heals with scarring.

It is difficult to say how deep the necrosis extends at this stage, so I would recommend that you sit tight and watch for signs of things getting moist or infected.  While it remains dry, keep your spirits up and you may be pleasantly surprised at the final result, although it could take some months to get there. I wish you all the best.

Nipple compromise after reduction surgery

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

is a known risk and your surgeon is trying to minimize tissue loss.  At this point, continued wound care and avoiding any second hand smoke is paramount to minimizing damage as well as any other activities that lead to constriction of your vessels such as exposure to cold.  It is too early to determine your outcome but you do need to follow your surgeons recommendations and hope for the best outcome. 

Nipple loss after reduction

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

This is an unusual but known problem after breast reduction surgery. From your photo it looks to me like there is some tissue that has died and scabbed and some that is still viable. Be assured that although waiting is indeed difficult, your nipple area will heal eventually but it will probably take a while. Sometimes it is surprising how much healing can take place beneath a scab. Follow your surgeon's advice and be patient. Good luck to you.

Margaret Skiles, MD (retired)
Sacramento Plastic Surgeon

Nipple Loss After Breast Reduction? (photo)

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Sorry for your severe complication of total N/A necrosis. Best to met with your chosen surgeon to discuss this rare complication and the future treatment/surgery plans. Again so very sorry. 

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.