Loss of Areola or Nipple after Surgery or Revision
The information in this section is made available through the generous support of Dr. Grant Stevens.
What is the main reason women lose one or both nipples after breast surgery?
If the blood supply to the soft tissues underlying the nipple/ areola is compromised, partial or complete loss of the nipple/ areola is possible. Cigarette smoking will also greatly increase the risk of nipple/ areola loss.
Is there increased risk of nipple/areola complex loss when a revision is needed? If so, why?
The risk is usually low for any minor revisions. If a complete redo of the reduction is performed, the surgeon must know where the blood supply was based during the previous surgery so he or she can preserve the same blood supply "pedicle". Otherwise, there is a significantly higher risk of nipple/ areolar loss.
If there are complications with the blood supply to the nipple/areola complex during surgery, is it possible for just the nipple to die? Or just the areola to die? Or is it always the entire nipple/areola complex?
Obviously, this is a very rare complication. Depending on the severity of the problem with blood supply to the nipple/ areola, part or all of the complex can die. Which parts, specifically, can vary greatly from patient to patient.
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