Nipples are an integral part of your breast, playing a role in your overall appearance, sexuality, and motherhood. Unfortunately, your nipples contain ducts from your breast gland that are commonly removed with your breast as part of your cancer treatment. Thankfully, there are many different types of breast reconstruction available to restore your breast mound and Mr Ghattaura can discuss these with you in detail.
Once the breast mound is reconstructed using implants or your own tissue (flaps), you may feel the lack of a nipple ‘bump’ prevents you from achieving the maximum result. For these patients, Mr Ghattaura offers a surgical nipple reconstruction - a simple procedure aimed at restoring the prominence of your nipple, using a piece of skin from your reconstructed breast. Mr Ghattaura has a specific expertise in this area though his NHS work managing breast cancer patients. He has also authored a chapter on nipple reconstruction in the textbook “Oncoplastic surgery of the breast”.
What is involved in the procedure?
Mr Ghattaura uses flap techniques to reconstruct your nipple, using the skin already available on your breast mound. This skin is lifted up and then stitched together, in a tubular shape. The procedure is performed under local anaesthetic (with you awake) as a daycase, so you should be able to go home within an hour or two of surgery. You will have non-dissolvable stitches in your new nipple and Mr Ghattaura will also apply a soft dressing over your reconstructed nipple, to protect the skin.
Ideally, you should take it easy for the first few days after surgery and keep your dressing dry. You can return to light work at 1-week, but avoid heavy activities for 4 weeks. Mr Ghattaura recommends that you wear a loose bra for the first 4 weeks after surgery, to avoid unnecessary compression of the nipple
Many breast cancer patients undergo a nipple reconstruction to complete their breast reconstruction journey. Once the surgical nipple has been tattooed (to mimic your brown areolar skin), you should be able to achieve a truly feminine appearance to your breast.
Available at HMT Sancta Maria, Spire Cardiff Hospital, Nuffield Health and BMI Werndale