For many women who have had breast cancer and subsequent breast reconstruction, nipple reconstruction is an important part of the process. Dr. Gregory Dumanian has witnessed first-hand how creating a realistic-looking nipple helps his breast reconstruction patients feel more like themselves after their experience with cancer. Nipple reconstruction can provide a sense of much-needed “closure” for his patients.
According to the American Cancer Society, most breast cancers start in the cells that line the milk ducts, which are intricately linked to the nipples. Because of this, the nipple and as much breast tissue as possible are traditionally removed during mastectomy.
Just as there have been amazing advances in technique and technology to recreate the breast mound, there are similarly exciting opportunities for nipple reconstruction.
Nipple reconstruction is an optional step, and is typically performed as a separate surgery to make the reconstructed breast look more like its original form. When performed by Dr. Dumanian and his qualified, experienced team, the result will look very lifelike. It’s important to note that the reconstruction procedure will not restore sensation, and the breast and nipple area will be numb.
How Dr. Dumanian Recreates the Nipple
After the newly constructed breast has had time to heal, Dr. Dumanian will take skin from the breast area to create a normal-looking nipple on the breast mound. Later, his staff will tattoo the nipple so it matches the color of the nipple and areola of the other breast; or, in the case of a bilateral mastectomy/reconstruction, fulfills the patient’s personal preferences.
In order to achieve the best aesthetic result, Dr. Dumanian and his team are mindful of several considerations:
- The size of the nipple should be in proportion with the rest of the breast – not too small or too large
- The nipple should be positioned in the center of the breast – not on the side of the breast
- The tattoo pigment (reddish, pink or brown) should complement the woman’s skin tone or existing areola
- The nipple should look three-dimensional – as if it projects out from the breast
Dr. Dumanian would be happy to provide more information about breast and nipple reconstruction during a personal consultation. To schedule an appointment with him, please call the office at 312-695-1999 or send us an email today.