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If you’ve had breast reconstruction and you weren’t a candidate for a nipple-sparing mastectomy, you may still be able to have a nipple and areola created via other methods.
What’s Nipple Reconstruction?
After breast reconstruction has recreated your breast mound, a nipple reconstruction can then recreate your areola and nipple so that your reconstructed breast more closely resembles a natural breast.
Types of Nipple Reconstruction
There are several techniques that can be used to create a nipple and the surrounding areola.
One method of nipple reconstruction takes a small flap of skin from your existing breast and forms a nipple. A small incision is made at the site where the nipple will go. The skin is then formed into a nipple shape and stitches are used to hold it in place.
Another method uses a small flap of skin taken from another area of your body, like your abdomen, inner thigh or hip, to create your areola. With this type of nipple reconstruction, there will also likely be some scarring at the site where the skin used to create the nipple is taken.
An alternative to both of these methods is 3D tattooing. 3D tattooing creates the realistic appearance of a nipple and areola. It can be used alone or along with nipple reconstruction. You may need to have the tattoo touched up, as pigments may fade or change over time.
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