Who Needs A Nipple Reconstruction?

During mastectomy surgery, it is most common for the nipple to be removed. However there are times when a surgeon will agree to preserve the nipple and leave it attached to the breast skin, or to remove it and reattach it to the reconstructed breast.The reconstruction of the nipple represents the last step of your breast reconstruction – around three months after the reconstruction has fully healed. Regardless, of which technique has been used for the breast reconstruction, from an aesthetic point of view, a nipple reconstruction adds significantly to the illusion of a natural breast. But a reconstructed nipple will never behave in the same way as natural nipple: not being sensitive to temperature or having sensation when touched.Added to which there’s also a way of opting out of further surgery by choosing to wear a nipple prosthesis (a false nipple, attached externally to the breast).

So how is a nipple reconstructed?

(There are a few techniques that are relevant):


  • A pattern is cut into the skin, which is then shaped into a nipple
  • Part of the nipple from the opposite breast is used
  • An external nipple prosthesis is used

How is the areola reconstructed?

Again, there are a number of different techniques applied. Most commonly, a skin graft from your inner groin is used to give the colour and texture. Alternatively, the area can be colour tattooed to produce pigment.

Is nipple reconstruction performed in a day as an outpatient case?

Yes. The procedures are performed under local anaesthetic and normally, as a day outpatient procedure.

Nipple Reconstruction – An Outline

Nipple Reconstruction
This procedure can sometimes happen at the same time as the breast reconstruction. Otherwise, the surgery will happen after the breast has had time to heal.
When it happens: Around 3 months after reconstructive surgery
Operation time: Around 30 minutes
Hospital Stay: Day Case
Type of Anaesthesia: Local anaesthetic
Recovery Time: Around 2 days
Risks of Surgery include: Bruising and swelling. Scarring.
Less common includes infection, haematoma and flattening of nipple projection with time.
Areola Tattoo
When the reconstructed nipple has fully healed, tattooing a natural colour into the skin can take place. Sometimes, this procedure might be repeated a couple of times to ensure the right depth of required colour. A tattooed pigment lasts for around two years.
When it happens:
1 Month
Operation time:
40-45 Minutes
Hospital Stay: Day Case (outpatient treatment)
Type of Anaesthesia: Local anaesthetic cream or injection
Recovery Time: Immediate
After effects: Slightly sore feeling, like grazed skin for a few days. Dressing protects the newly injected dye and will be worn for about a week or so.