Reconstruction of the nipple-areola complex is the final step in surgical restoration of the breast. Usually considered a secondary complement to breast reconstruction, nipple-areola creation is ordinarily done after an interval of several months using different techniques involving local flaps or composite graft from the opposite nipple.
Because the position of the nipple-areola complex is well defined from the outset in skin-sparing mastectomy, the authors propose a new technique of immediate nipple reconstruction using the skin envelope after skin-sparing mastectomy. A modified wise pattern design of skin-sparing mastectomy with 3 local flaps is used. The dermal-fat flaps are lifted and sutured together to form the new nipple.
Seventeen patients (average age, 47 years; range, 33–58 years) underwent immediate nipple reconstruction between March 2010 and January 2012 (11 bilateral and 6 unilateral cases). Average follow-up was 13 months (range, 2–25 months). Aesthetic results were evaluated retrospectively from photographic documentation. A minimum average score of 7.2 points was achieved in all evaluated criteria using a 10-point scale. Patient satisfaction with nipple reconstruction was studied by means of a questionnaire. The shape of the nipple received an average of 9.7 points and the position of the nipple 9.9 points on the 10-point scale; 77% of patients were also very satisfied with nipple sensitivity.
One-stage nipple reconstruction with immediate breast reconstruction using our technique of 3 local flaps on skin envelope flap is possible. This simple, reliable, and rapid technique gives stable aesthetic results over time. Reconstruction may be completed sooner and with fewer procedures. Nipple reconstruction should no longer be considered as a secondary complement to immediate breast reconstruction using deep inferior epigastric perforator or muscle-sparing transverse rectus abdominis myocutaneous flap. Our technique is suitable for patients with ptotic or hypertrophic breasts.