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Autologous Fat Graft in Nipple Reconstruction

Bernard, Robert W. M.D.; Beran, Samuel J. M.D.

doi: 10.1097/01.PRS.0000076245.12249.BE
Original Articles

Reconstruction of the nipple is the penultimate step in breast reconstruction after mastectomy. A number of reconstructive techniques have been described for nipple reconstruction including skin grafts, composite grafts, and various local flaps. The authors’ preferred reconstructive technique is the local C-V or modified star flap. This flap produces an excellent reconstruction, but it is dependent on underlying subcutaneous fat to provide bulk to the reconstructed nipple. In most instances, the subcutaneous tissue is adequate. However, under certain circumstances, the subcutaneous fat may be insufficient to produce a nipple of adequate projection. Two cases of bilateral nipple reconstruction after soft-tissue expansion and implant placement and subsequent nipple reconstruction with local flaps provided inadequate nipple projection. These instances, as well as a retrospective review of reconstructed nipples after mound restoration using a variety of techniques, led the authors to conclude that a more predictable alternative to sustain nipple projection was necessary. The authors identified two broad categories of breast reconstruction patients in whom this new technique would be beneficial. In the first category of patients, breast mounds are reconstructed with tissue expansion and implant insertion, and in the second category, breast mounds are reconstructed by any technique in which the nipple reconstruction subsequently flattens. This article describes the indications, techniques, and experience in 13 patients treated over a 10-month period with fat grafting for nipple reconstruction.

White Plains, N.Y.

Received for publication September 18, 2002;

revised November 26, 2002.

Robert W. Bernard, M.D.

10 Chester Avenue

White Plains, N.Y. 10601

©2003American Society of Plastic Surgeons