Treating breast cancer with surgery often involves undergoing a mastectomy, which may include removing the nipples and areola. As a result, many breast reconstruction patients choose to have nipple and areola reconstruction in Virginia Beach to restore a natural breast appearance. However, there are several approaches to nipple reconstruction that offer various benefits.

Each method for reconstructive surgery aims for natural-looking results by recreating nipples and areolas of the same color and placement. After the procedure, you could feel more confident in your newly reconstructed breasts’ appearance. Reach out to our compassionate team at Galardi | Bowen Plastic Surgery for more information about nipple and areola reconstruction processes, recovery, and results.

Approaches to Areola and Nipple Reconstruction

Several techniques are available at Galardi | Bowen Plastic Surgery for recreating the areolas and nipples on Virginia Beach with natural-looking results once breasts fully heal after reconstructive surgery.

Skin Graft Reconstruction

A skin graft involves taking a small area of skin from one body part, such as the abdomen, buttocks, or inner thighs, to reconstruct the nipples and areolas. For some patients with excess breast skin, skin grafts may come from this area for reconstruction. However, this approach may be best for patients without enough skin on the breasts to reconstruct both the nipples and areolas.

Reconstruction surgery using skin grafts provides the best matches in color and texture of natural nipples than other techniques. However, the nipples can flatten over time after the procedure.

Skin Flap Reconstruction

Reconstruction with a skin flap technique uses small folds of skin around the intended nipple and areola location. The surgeon sews the skin flaps together above the surrounding skin to create a new bump that becomes the nipple. However, this approach may result in nipples flattening or retracting over time, which is not harmful but may have adverse cosmetic impacts.

3-D Tattooing

A less invasive option is 3-D tattooing for nipple reconstruction, which involves tattooing the features directly onto the breast. The 3-D tattoo approach uses shadowing and shading techniques to produce the appearance of a naturally raised nipple like other reconstruction methods create. In addition, some patients may choose to have nipple and areola tattooing on top of reconstructed nipples from the skin to have more realistic results.

Recovery Process After Nipple Reconstruction Surgery at Galardi | Bowen Plastic Surgery

In Virginia Beach, nipple and areola reconstruction typically occur three to four months after breast reconstruction surgery when healing is complete. Since reconstructive methods vary significantly, their recovery processes and results differ. For example, 3-D tattooing nipple reconstructive patients typically have shorter recovery periods as the technique does not require surgery.

Alternatively, skin flap and skin graft reconstruction patients will need to wear nipple protectors and surgical bras several days to a week after surgery. During this time, it is essential to avoid soaps with chemicals and use antibacterial ointments consistently to prevent infections. In the first few days, the nipples and areolas may appear darker, more prominent, swollen, and more pointed than the final results will look after recovery.

Learn More About Areola and Nipple Reconstruction Methods in Virginia Beach

Undergoing breast cancer treatment and breast reconstruction surgery is a difficult journey, but restoring your breasts could boost your self-confidence. One step is nipple and areola reconstruction in Virginia Beach, which offers three different approaches and results. Options include skin grafts and skin flaps, which produce realistic feeling and looking areolas and nipples.

Alternatively, if you want to avoid additional surgery, 3-D nipple tattooing is an excellent choice for realistic results without surgical risks and recovery. Reach out to Galardi | Bowen Plastic Surgery to hear more about nipple and areola reconstruction options.