Nipple reconstruction is offered as part of the breast reconstruction process, unless of course the patient has undergone a nipple-sparing mastectomy . Reconstructing the nipple and areola helps make the reconstruction appear more "natural" and usually also hides some of the scarring.
There are several ways to reconstruct a nipple. Some techniques rearrange the tissue that is part of the reconstructed breast (a bit like "origami"). "Nipple-sharing" can also be preformed which uses part of the patient's opposite nipple if it is large enough.
The areola can be created either through tattooing or grafting skin from the groin area. The groin area is used as this tends to be a closer match to the natural areola in terms of color and tone than skin from any other part of the patient's body.
At PRMA we prefer to reconstruct the nipple using a "bow-tie" technique which rearranges tissue in the planned location of the new nipple. The areola is then tattooed to recreate the best tone.
The video below shows our "bow-tie" technique which can be used to reconstruct nipples of various sizes based on patient preference. It is also important to know that the reconstructed nipples also shrink by 50% over the first couple of months after reconstruction.