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Nipple and areola reconstruction
The nipple and the areola (the dark-coloured skin around the nipple) can also be reconstructed to create a more natural looking breast. This procedure is delayed until the reconstructed breast settles into its final shape, usually 3–6 months after breast reconstruction. The timing of nipple and areola reconstruction varies from woman to woman.
Tissue for the nipple can be taken from:
- the newly created breast
- the opposite breast’s nipple (nipple sharing)
- other areas of the body, such as the labia (the folds of skin on either side of the vagina) or earlobe
A new areola can be created by:
- tattooing the skin to match the colour of the other breast
- taking a thin skin graft from a donor site, such as the upper-inner thigh or labia
A reconstructed nipple has much less feeling than a natural one. The nipple or areola may be a different colour than the other breast.