Nipple Discoloration After Breast Lift

I had surgery 2 weeks ago my right nipple is fine. My left nipple came out purple now it is starting to get color but still has dark spots. My surgeon says it will heal but it will take a few months. That the nipple blistered and thats why it is still dark. It just does not look right to me. Am I going to have horrible scars after this? Does this look okay to you?

Doctor Answers 11

Changing Nipple / Areola Complex after Surgery

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Thanks for posting pictures with your question - it makes the answers much more informative for other readers and allows us to give you more specific advice.  You are only two weeks after surgery, so please do not worry - you are going to be fine.  It appears that you have a small area of superficial necrosis of the areola which turned black.  While this is not common, it can happy.  In the vast majority of cases, the area will heal just fine.  You will be very surprised how nice it will look 3 to 6 months from now.  It looks like your surgeon did a nice job with your surgery as you have nice shape and symmetry between the breasts.


Good Luck.

Delayed healing of nipple after breast lift

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It appears that the nipple/areola suffered diminished blood circulation and there were areas of skin loss.  This is always a small risk with a breast lift, and the risk is greater if breast implants are done at the same time as making the pocket for the implant divides more blood supply and the tension of the breast lift closure over an implant is greater.  That being said, this of course does not happen most of the time.  It is much more likely to happen in smokers, and so if you are in fact a smoker or around a good amount of second hand smoke, you should my all means avoid this.  Although this will take several weeks to heal in, and some months to settle down and mature, in most cases the results are still good.  The good news here is that the majority of your nipple/areola was not affected.  Once the wounds are closed, some measures to reduce the risk of hypertrophic scars (elevated red rope-like scars) can be utilized, which you doctor can discuss with you.

Risks & Potential Complications of Breast Augmentation

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it seems that you might have had poor circulation to you nipple with resulting blistering. Although this is a serious thing, due to the risk or loosing the nipple, it seems from the pictures that your nipple is fortunately healing. You need to follow-up closely with your doctor and refrain from smoking, heavy exercises, and wearing tight bras until everything heals.

Sean Younai, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

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Wound healing problems after surgery

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It looks like you had an augmentation mastopexy.  Your breast shape is beautiful, so you should feel good about your overall result.  It looks like the right nipple-areolar complex is struggling for adequate blood supply.  That's why part of it appears black and the rest is still a little dusky (light purple).  It sounds like your surgeon is following you closely and managing this well.  Have faith, and have a lot of patience. I'll bet you'll be just fine when all is said and done.  You may need a small scar revision (usually done in the office under local anesthesia), if you need anything at all once it's all healed.

Carmen Kavali, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Changing Nipple after Surgery

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All surgical procedures carry some degree of risk. Occasionally, minor complications occur and do not affect the surgical outcome. Major complications associated with this procedure are rare. Remember that you are still fairly early after your procedure and should allow the post-op healing to continue a little further before worrying too much. If the problem continues then be sure to contact your PS with questions and see them in person to resolve issues.

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

Purple nipple

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Your nipple suffered diminished blood supply and is dusky. Hopefully this will continue to improve but you should have regular followup with your plastic surgeon. Delayed wound healing is more likely to occur in smokers and diabetics. If you do smoke, please try to stop! It will take a while for this to resolve and for the nipple to heal, but it may go on to ultimately heal well.

Nipple discoloration after breast lift

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It appears from your photo that the nipple in question has had decreased circulation that has led to partial loss of the nipple.  Often times these can heal very well with careful treatment and followup.  Please do not smoke or use anything with nicotine as this can inhibit your ability to heal.

Nipple discoloration after breast lift

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On reason why the nipple looks purple is because the bloood is getting in better than it is getting out.  It may be puffy and feel "full" as well.  Likely this will get better as the blood vessels recover.  It may take several months though.

Neal Goldberg, MD
Westchester Plastic Surgeon

Nipple discoloration

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Hard to say what the long term look will be of the areola that had some healing problems. Very often, they go on to heal quite fine. You just have to give it some time to do so.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Dark nipple on one side after breast lift caused by diminished blood flow.

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When breast tissues are surgically cut during breast lift procedures, skin flaps on the lower poles of the breasts (adjacent to the vertical incisions) and the nipple areola complexes can have some impairment of circulation. Superficial layers of the skin can die, causing blistering and delay in healing, but ultimately healing just fine. Or, larger areas or the full thickness of the skin or areola can have inadequate blood flow to survive. In these cases, your surgeon may ask you to help the healing along with dressings you change frequently as the scabbing and dead layers come away and are replaced with healing healthy tissue. True, this may mean somewhat more scarring, but you have scars already, and these usually do heal just fine. In rare cases where the amount of skin loss is greater, additional surgery may be required, but ultimately still ending with a good result! You have beautiful shape early in the process, so your surgeon has done a skillful job with the procedure; unfortunately, your surgeon cannot increase the capillary blood flow to your nipple.

However, if you are a smoker, or expose yourself to second-hand smoke, or use nicotine gum, spray, or patch, this is absolutely harmful to your micro-circulation, and should be completely stopped immediately! This is something I require of every one of my surgical patients because of the 15-20% possibility of this kind of ischemic healing concern in smokers. In non-smokers, these kinds of circulation impairments can still occur, but are much more uncommon (around 1%). Bleeding, excessive swelling, too-tight closure, or too-large implants (when used) can add to the healing difficulty.

Be patient, see your doctor frequently, and follow his advice. You WILL have scars, and they may be slightly more on the side with the discoloration, but "horrible" is just plain unlikely. Keep things clean and call your doctor if you note signs of infection (increase in pain, redness, swelling, or purulent drainage). BTW, bad scars can be revised, so you still have a "safety net" if things aren't OK as time goes by.

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 263 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.