Introduction to Nipple Reconstruction

Breast cancer is a very serious illness that should never be taken lightly. While a Mastectomy can be a life-saving surgery to treat this, it can also have life-altering complications – issues such as tissue loss or in some cases, complete loss of the areola and/or nipple. While a healthy life is certainly more valuable than tissue and skin, physical changes can take a toll on one’s self-esteem and confidence. Dr. George Papanicolaou offers his patients near the Orlando area an opportunity to recreate what was taken away with Nipple Reconstruction. If certain tragic circumstances have changed your life and you’re interested in regaining a more natural appearance, please read the information we have provided below.

What is a Nipple Reconstruction?

Nipple Reconstruction is a cosmetic surgery that is typically performed after surgical resection of the nipple due to disease, treatment, or congenital nipple defects. Most commonly, patients who undergo nipple reconstruction have lost a nipple after mastectomy or some other type of breast surgery, or patients born without a nipple or have an inverted nipple. Dr. Papanicolaou will use the skin from the area your nipple used to be and create a newly formed “nipple” through the use of special techniques.

Nipple Reconstruction for Inverted Nipple

Some women have not had their nipples removed surgically, but they were born without a nipple or with an inverted nipple. For someone who was born without a nipple, nipple reconstruction is performed similarly to a patient who has undergone nipple resection. For someone with an inverted nipple, improving the projection of the nipple can be achieved by placing acellular dermal matrix (ADM) under the nipple. After the ADM is placed under the nipple skin, it is sutured in place to give the nipple projection. The sutures dissolve over time, and the acellular dermal matrix provides substance and volume to the inverted nipple.

What are the Benefits of a Nipple Reconstruction?

The primary benefit of Nipple Reconstruction in Orlando or Lake Mary is the creation of a nipple-areola complex to create a natural breast appearance. Nipple reconstruction usually improves a patient’s body image and helps them feel complete. The reconstructed nipple is not connected to milk ducts, so it will not improve breastfeeding capabilities. Some of the benefits of getting nipple reconstruction include:

  • Creates nipples with dimensions that look and feel natural
  • Enhances the results of your breast reconstruction
  • Helps some women feel happier with their breast reconstruction outcome
  • Offers more “realistic-looking” results
  • Puts the finishing touch on other breast surgeries

Who are the Best Candidates for the Nipple Reconstruction Procedure?

The best candidates for Nipple Reconstruction surgery in Orlando, Florida are those with the following characteristics:

  • Are at their ideal body weight
  • Currently don’t have any medical conditions that could impair or impede healing
  • Have a positive outlook throughout their cosmetic journey
  • In overall good health
  • Maintains realistic expectations for their diagnosis and treatment
  • Non-smoker

All patients who undergo a mastectomy can take advantage of a nipple reconstruction procedure, except in cases when a nipple-sparing mastectomy was performed, which preserves both the nipple and the areola if no cancer cells are found near them. This does not guarantee that the nipple will maintain its look permanently.

It is normal for the reconstructed nipple to flatten out over time. If the patient also undergoes micropigmentation, the color of the nipples can be expected to last for a few years but may also fade over time.

What’s the First Step?

If you are in Lake Mary or the Orlando area and feel that Nipple Reconstruction can help you, your first step is to contact Soma Plastic Surgery and schedule your consultation. When you come in a meet with Dr. Papanicolaou, he will ask you about your medical and surgical history so he can get a better understanding of what you’ve been through and make appropriate decisions to avoid unnecessary risks.

Dr. Papanicolaou will give you an examination and talk about your expectations for the procedure. Once he collects all the information he needs, he will make a surgical plan for you. If you agree with this plan, you will talk with our Patient Coordinator and schedule your procedure date. You will also be given a list of instructions to follow before coming in that will increase the chances of a successful surgery.


What to Expect on the Day of Nipple Reconstruction Surgery

On the day of your Nipple Reconstruction surgery, Dr. Papanicolaou will draw markings on your breast to show where the incisions will be made, and if a skin graft is being performed, the other area of your body that is being removed. You’ll probably be standing up while this happens.

Next, you will be sedated so you have a more comfortable and painless experience. This procedure typically uses a local anesthetic, which means you will be awake. If the skin is being taken from another place on your body to reconstruct the nipple, that area will be numbed with a local anesthetic, and you should be administered general anesthesia.

There are several types of techniques that Dr. Papanicolaou can use for Nipple Reconstruction and will be discussed during your consultation. Some of these techniques include:

  • Building a new nipple with the surrounding skin: The most common approach, this technique requires the skin from around your breast where the nipple should be. Dr. Papanicolaou makes a few small incisions and forms the tissue into a nipple shape, then secures it with stitches. An areola can also be created later with tattooing if this is something you are interested in.
  • Creating the new nipple with surrounding skin and an areola with a skin graft: Much like the aforementioned technique, Dr. Papanicolaou uses skin from the area on the breast where the new nipple will be located to form its shape. Then, to create the areola, skin from another part of your body is used, like the edge of a healed mastectomy or C-section scar or from some loose skin on the lower belly, and that is grafted into place. Only a small amount of skin is needed to recreate the nipple.
  • Nipple sharing: If you have a mastectomy on only one breast and the nipple on the other breast is large enough, Dr. Papanicolaou can take a portion of the remaining nipple, using it to build a new nipple on the reconstructed breast. This approach makes it easier to match the new nipple with the natural nipple in size, color, and position.

No matter which technique is used, Dr. Papanicolaou will usually try to create a reconstructed nipple that is larger than the final desired size which will compensate for the eventual flattening of the reconstructed over time.

Once finished, a nipple shield (a tiny hat-shaped protective covering with a wide flat brim) or other protective dressing is taped over the reconstructed nipple, with antibacterial ointment used to prevent infection.

The length of Nipple Reconstruction can take up to 2 hours.

Nipple Reconstruction Recovery

You will typically be allowed to return home after you have been released by Dr. Papanicolaou. In certain instances, patients may be required to stay at the hospital overnight if they are having additional surgery, but you can discuss your options during the consultation. Before you leave, you will be given specific instructions to follow during recovery, as well as how to care for the protective dressing and stitches. This protective dressing is encouraged to be left on for about three days to a week. Once it’s been removed, you will be able to shower again.

You probably won’t feel much pain or tenderness in the nipple area after surgery due to the lack of sensation in your breasts after a mastectomy. You will likely feel tender and mild pain for a week or two if the skin is grafted from another part of your body. Dr. Papanicolaou should prescribe you some temporary medications that will help ease any pain you may have.

Initially during recovery, your new nipple(s) may look larger and more pointed than you anticipated, and they will be red, and swollen, and there will be visible incisions. As your nipple(s) heal, they will start to shrink and look more like you expected.

If you are considering having tattoos applied around your new nipple, you will need to wait between four to six months after your surgery so they can properly heal. Many patients use tattooing to add color and make them appear more realistic.

How Much

How Much Does a Nipple Reconstruction Cost in Orlando?

The cost of a Nipple Reconstruction in Orlando is based on many different factors, including the technique that is used. When you come in for your initial consultation with Dr. Papanicolaou, he will have a better understanding of what he will need to do and our Patient Coordinator will be able to provide you with a breakdown of the total price for your procedure.

Why Choose Us?

Why Choose Dr. Papanicolaou?

As a double-board-certified plastic surgeon through both the American Board of Plastic Surgeons (ABPS) and the American Board of Surgery (ABS), George D. Papanicolaou, M.D. provides a wide variety of services but specializes in breast reconstruction and aesthetic breast surgery. Dr. Papanicolaou specializes in both cosmetic and reconstructive surgery and is dedicated to improving his knowledge. When you choose Dr. Papanicolaou, you’re choosing a surgeon with a profound understanding of the art and science of Nipple Reconstruction.

Photo of Soma Plastic Surgery office building Dr. George Papanicolaou's lab coat
Dr. George Papanicolaou
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Schedule Your Consultation

If you are in Lake Mary, FL, or the Orlando area and are curious about Nipple Reconstruction, Soma Plastic Surgery would like to help you achieve the aesthetic breast appearance that you are trying to achieve. To schedule your nipple reconstruction consultation, call our office or request an appointment through our website and one of our team members will be in touch with you.

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TestimonialsWhat our patients
have to say

Eve F.

Dr Papanicolaou is the best! Very knowledgable and caring! So glad I found him! I definitely recommend putting your trust in him. Awesome office staff. They make you feel like family. Cant say enough good things about the whole staff.

C.V. Fig

Dr. Papanicolaou is the BEST Plastic Surgeon in Central Florida. He is smart, caring and honest.. I have been his patient for over two yrs. His staff is available, responsive and accommodating. They treat you like family. I feel very fortunate and grateful that I found Dr. Papanicolaou. He helped me during a very difficult process.

Yamile K.

Dr. Papanicolaou exceeded my expectations, he is a master at his craft, the entire process was relatively painless, his nurses are amazing, so caring. Also the Florida surgical center was great, they treated me like a princess. Overall I cannot be happier with my experience, I highly recommend Soma Plastic surgery.

Sheila O.

Dr. Papanicalou and staff are exceptional. The process was smooth from beginning to end and I am so pleased with the results. Very natural and as close to perfect as possible. I highly recommend Dr. Papanicalou!

Swandra W.

Dr. P and all of the staff are wonderful. They were amazing to me at the most vulnerable time in my life. I am thankful to have such caring, thoughtful, skilled, knowledgeable and talented human beings to reconstruct the damage that cancer caused. Forever grateful.

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