Nipple & Areola Reconstruction in Orange County, CA

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What Is Areola Reconstruction?

Areola Reconstruction is a plastic surgery procedure that may involve transferring skin from another part of the body to the areolar area on the breast (Free grafting) and shaping in to look like a natural areolar. Depending on the patients skin tones the area may also be tattooed the pink or brown of the patient's natural areolar color. Generally this procedure is one of the final stages of breast reconstruction.

About Nipple & Areola Reconstruction

According to Dr. Corbin, a plastic surgeon with over 20 years experience with breast reconstruction surgery there are different surgery options to reconstruct the nipples and or the surrounding areola complex. "A large part of surgery success starts with surgeon/patient communication he says. Both the surgeon and the reconstructive patient must understand what can be and what can't be accomplished with plastic surgery. It is very important to take time to carefully explain the pros and cons of the different nipple reconstructive surgeries. Pre surgery education and patient evaluation is an important part of the surgery process." In addition, mastectomy scarring as well as breast skin and tissue may affect the overall reconstructive surgery result.

Dr. Fred Corbin says, "By the end of one or more surgery consultations with the reconstructive patient, it is important for me to know that my patient is comfortable,well informed and trusts me to do the reconstructive surgery procedure that will give them the best possible results." Our office likes to satisfy the emotional needs as well as the physical needs of our patients.

Patient Evaluation

Because each patient's needs and physical factors are different, Dr. Fred Corbin must evaluate the patient's thoroughly before determining the best plastic surgery technique. Some of the basic physical factors he considers in nipple reconstruction are the shape, size, nipple texture, nipple projection and where the reconstructed nipple will be placed on the reconstructed breast mound.

No patient is perfectly symmetrical. The two sides of the body are naturally different. Asymmetry is more noticeable in some patients than others and this difference can present a surgical challenge.

Unilateral Nipple Reconstruction

If the nipple reconstruction is Unilateral then Dr. Corbin has the difficult task of matching the reconstructed nipple to the natural nipple.He has to evaluate the color, skin texture, size, shape and the location on the breast mound where the reconstructed nipple and areolar will best match the other side. With a normal breast on one side, reconstructing the nipple on the other side to match and sharing a portion of the normal nipple on the other breast may work well because the color and texture will be the same. This (nipple sharing) reconstructive technique is best when the patient has a larger nipple and areolar complex.

Skin Graft Sites

Reconstructive surgery options the plastic surgeon must consider are the location of the donor site used to take the skin from that is needed to create the nipples and or areolar complex. To reconstruct the nipple or nipples, Dr. Corbin can use a local tissue flap or a graft using skin taken from another location (donor site) on the patient's body that best matches their nipple texture and or color. Some of the most commonly used donor sites are, medial inner thigh, groin area or behind the ears. The medial thighs and groin tend to have darker skin and for a lighter shape of pink the skin from behind the ear is often used by Dr. Corbin.

Bilateral Nipple Reconstruction

According to Dr. Corbin, "If a patient needs bilateral nipple reconstruction, using local tissue flaps on both sides is a good surgery option since both nipples will look similar.

FYI, flaps are moved from one location on the body to the reconstructive site with the blood supply intact, while skin grafts are removed from their own blood supply transferred to the reconstructive site on the breast mound. The free flap grafts viability depends on the growth of a new blood supply at their new site. Because the blood supply of the patient is so important in determining the final surgery result. Dr. Corbin will not perform this surgery on smokers.

The local tissue flap procedure used to reconstruct the nipples avoids donor site morbidity that can happen with the free graft technique.

According to Dr. Frederic Corbin, the scarring that can occur using a local tissue flap surgery is generally not extensive and it remains in the area around the nipple. This scarring can be touched up and easily covered by either a skin graft or tattoo to reconstruct the areola complex.

Nipple Tattooing

Nipple and areolar tattooing is a commonly used by Dr. Corbin to simply color match the nipple or nipples and areolar complex. It is performed easily, often under local anesthesia depending on the patients comfort level and has little to no down time for the reconstructive patient.. Nipple tattooing provides the patient and plastic surgeon with a minimally invasive option to color the nipples and areolar. In the past, some of the tattoo color faded with time, but with newer equipment and inks the tattooed nipples can maintain their color over time.

Nipple and areolar reconstruction are the final stage in breast reconstruction. "It is like the icing on the cake" according to Frederic Corbin M. D. Based on Dr. Corbin's 20 years of experience and surgical expertise nipple and areola reconstruction adds to patient surgery satisfaction and an overall sense of well being, confidence and femininity.

*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.