Preserve a Prominent Part of the Breast With Nipple-Sparing Breast Reconstruction in Austin

Women exploring breast reconstruction options often focus on the breast mound itself, whether volume comes from donor tissue taken from elsewhere on the body or an implant inserted into a specially made pocket. Throughout this process, many women also wonder what will happen to their nipple—whether it can be preserved or if a new one will be built. While there are a couple of options to reconstruct the nipple, it is our team's belief that the optimal aesthetic reconstruction is achieved with nipple-sparing breast reconstruction.

Nipple Sparing Breast Reconstruction Before & After

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What Is Nipple-Sparing Breast Reconstruction?

Nipple-sparing breast reconstruction is a method of breast reconstruction designed to restore the volume and shape of the affected breast(s) while preserving the nipple(s). For this surgery, the nipple and/or areola are left in place while the breast tissue underneath is removed by the surgical oncologist during the mastectomy or lumpectomy. In many cases, the incision is made along the fold of the breast and is not visible on the front of the breast. The nipple is then incorporated into the newly reconstructed breast.

Our reconstructive plastic surgeons offer breast reconstruction for those undergoing mastectomy via DIEP flap, SIEA flap, LD flap, GAP flap, PAP flap, and silicone implant. All of these reconstructive procedures may be performed in conjunction with a nipple-sparing mastectomy. During nipple-sparing breast reconstruction, the nerves to the nipple are severed, so there will be little to no feeling in the nipple afterward.

During the procedure, the underlying glandular breast tissue is completely removed, while the overlying skin and nipple are preserved. This method allows the reconstructive surgeon to recreate the breast shape while retaining the patient's actual nipple, rather than creating an artificial nipple or tattooed version. The result is a beautiful, natural breast without compromising the effectiveness of the cancer treatment. Many women consider nipple-sparing breast reconstruction to result in the most realistic-looking results out of the various reconstructive options, but it’s important to note that mastectomy patients must meet very specific criteria in order to be considered as candidates for the procedure. 

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Benefits of Nipple-Sparing Breast Reconstruction

Nipple-sparing breast reconstruction is a popular method of breast reconstruction that can offer all of the following benefits:

  • Reconstruction and the mastectomy are performed during the same surgery
  • Evidence of surgery may be nearly undetectable as the scar is hidden in the fold of the breast
  • Post-operative scarring can be minimized
  • Comparable to traditional mastectomy regarding recurrence rates
  • Patients may experience greater self-confidence in their appearance
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What to Expect During Your Nipple-Sparing Breast Reconstruction Procedure

In addition to consulting with your oncology team and your surgical oncologist about your mastectomy or lumpectomy, you will also schedule a meeting with one of our reconstructive plastic surgeons to discuss your options in reconstruction. During this appointment, your plastic surgeon will gather and review your health information, including the specifics of your cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Your surgeon will also want to hear your concerns and take the time to answer all of your questions so that you feel confident moving forward with your reconstruction.

Your surgeon will also take the time to gain an understanding of both your reconstructive and aesthetic goals so that they can better tailor the procedure to your needs. Your nipple-sparing breast reconstruction will be performed at the same time as your lumpectomy or mastectomy under general anesthesia. Your plastic surgeon will make an incision underneath the breast in the crease, allowing for access to the underlying tissue. They will then leave the nipple and areola in place while the tissue underneath is removed by your oncological surgeon so that the replacement tissue or implant can be placed into the breast cavity. The nipple is then incorporated into the newly constructed breast.

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What Is the Recovery Like After Nipple-Sparing Breast Reconstruction?

Recovery after nipple-sparing breast reconstruction starts at the facility after your surgery is finished. Upon returning home, patients are encouraged to continue to avoid strenuous activity for six to eight weeks in order to give their new breasts time to properly heal. Many patients return to work within four to six weeks of their surgery. Recovery from surgery will vary based on whether you have a lumpectomy or mastectomy as well as how the reconstruction was performed—whether an implant was used or flap reconstruction was done.

Are You a Good Candidate for Nipple-Sparing Breast Reconstruction?

While nipple-sparing breast reconstruction may offer superior results for some patients, it is not the right choice for everyone. Women with small tumors and no signs of cancer in the skin or near the nipple may be suitable candidates for nipple-sparing breast reconstruction in Austin, TX with our team. Lymph nodes in the axilla should also be clinically negative. For these patients, our surgeons offer aesthetic nipple-sparing breast reconstruction at the time of the mastectomy.

If there is cancer in the skin or near the nipple, there is a higher risk cancer will reoccur if the nipple is not removed.

Your surgeon will discuss all the benefits and drawbacks of nipple-sparing breast reconstruction with you before your surgery so you can determine whether this procedure is the right one for you.

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Why Choose Austin Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery for Nipple-Sparing Breast Reconstruction in Austin?

With over 6,000 successful breast reconstruction procedures performed, our renowned reconstructive surgeons at Austin Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery have refined their approach to breast reconstruction. With several breast cancer survivors on our staff, we understand the immense challenges that come with a breast cancer diagnosis. This understanding allows us to consistently provide our patients with a comfortable, stress-free treatment experience and life-changing, natural-looking results. If you’re ready to schedule a private consultation with one of our award-winning microsurgeons, contact us today.

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