When a nipple is reconstructed after mastectomy, will it always have the hard look? Ie, will they always look like they're "nippin' out"?
Are Reconstructed Nipples Always Hard?
Doctor Answers 4
Hard nipples after breast reconstruction
Following mastectomy, breast reconstruction will usually replace the mound or shape of the breast but not the nipple. There are several options for reconstructing nipples. Some use bone or cartilage grafts to maintain projection of the nipple. However, firmness of the nipple reconstruction is the trade off. Fortunately, there are other techniques available to create projection without the use of firm graft material. These techniques typically involve using special patterns carved out from the reconstructed breast skin.
Breast reconstruction, nipple reconstruction, breast cancer, DCIS, mastectomy
Reconstructed nipples using tissue from a DIEP flap is often more prominent. They are larger but hardness is a different quality that is not common. Over time all of the nipple reconstructions lose projection. Implant based reconstructions typically result in a less prominent nipple.
Nipple reconstruction after mastectomy
Not all reconstructed nipples will have projection (a hard look). It depends on how the reconstruction is performed, and also how the breast is reconstructed. In my experience, nipples will be flatter after reconstruction using implants than your own tissue (a flap). I have also found that a skate flap gives more projection than a C-V flap. I hope this helps!
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