Breast cancer patients who are not candidates for, or choose not to undergo nipple-sparing mastectomy also have the option to reconstruct their nipple and areola as part of their breast reconstruction.
Although there are many different ways to perform nipple reconstruction, at PRMA we use the "bow-tie" method. The procedure gets it's name from the bow-tie shaped incision used to create the new nipple.
Studies show patients who chose nipple reconstruction after breast cancer surgery have improved psychosocial and sexual well-being.
The PRMA surgeons perform nipple reconstruction by cutting a "bow-tie" shaped skin flap on the breast. The flap is lifted, shaped, and sutured to create a "natural", projecting nipple. The procedure can be done during revision surgery in the operating room, or as a separate procedure in the office under local anesthetic.
If desired, the reconstructed nipple and areola are later tattooed to add color. Patients can choose between a 2D tattoo that adds color only, or a 3D tattoo which also adds more detail (e.g. Montgomery glands) to make the final result even more realistic. Of course, tattoos are also an option on their own, without surgical nipple reconstruction for patients who don't want a projecting nipple.
It is important to know the reconstructed nipple will not feel or respond like a natural nipple. Patients that have sensory nerve reconstruction in conjunction with certain types of flap breast reconstruction will have a much better chance of regaining feeling in the reconstructed nipple-areola long-term.