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Among the many ideal goals in breast reduction surgery is to preserve the general appearance of the nipple and at least some sensation. These can be achieved much of the time with procedures that maintain the attachment of the nipple to the underlying tissues including ducts, nerves and blood vessels. However, for those women with exceptionally massive breasts, a procedure called a free nipple graft breast reduction may offer them the best opportunity to obtain more ideal results.

This technique facilitates the removal of an appropriate volume of breast tissue and with greater finesse while allowing for more ideal breast contouring with greater predictability of results, shape and durability. The scar pattern is the same as that of most other techniques. However, the biggest drawback to this approach is that the nipple-areola complexes are removed as “skin grafts” to be placed back on the breasts later in surgery at an ideal position. Their blood supply and nerve fibers are necessarily disrupted and their survival will depend on re-growth of the circulation. Because of this, most nipple-areola complexes will display some degradation of their normal anatomy.

What are some of these visual changes? Commonly, there is loss of some or all of the nipple projection and what may remain is a semblance of a nipple. The areola may also be thinner and not as domal shaped. Darker complected individuals also have a substantial risk of depigmentation of the areolas, either temporary or permanent. As with any skin grafting procedure, there is a risk for partial or total failure of the nipple-areola complex to heal and survive. This risk is higher particularly in smokers, diabetics and those with autoimmune disease.

The photo below demonstrates the appearance of a nipple-areola complex in one of my patients who underwent this free nipple graft breast reduction. She has maintained some nipple projection and has not lost pigmentation.

Breast reduction with free nipple graft

If you would like more information on a reduction mammoplasty or any other plastic surgery procedure that I perform or to schedule a free cosmetic consultation with me, please call my office at 480-451-3000.

Steven H. Turkeltaub, M.D. P.C.
Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona

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A Message Regarding Coronavirus/COVID-19

In light of the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, we would like to let you know of some of the major precautions we are taking in our office to maximize cleanliness and keep the environment as sanitary and safe as possible. Our highest priority is always to ensure the safety of every individual who sees us and we are taking extreme infection-control measures to maintain cleanliness and “sterility” of surfaces and the overall environment.

We will be limiting dates and times for office appointments and consultations due to safety and other issues. Consequently, if you have already made an office appointment or consultation prior to March 18, 2020 to occur at a later time, this may need to be changed.

For anyone considering plastic surgery, we are now offering Virtual Consultations and Telemedicine through Skype. A great number of aesthetic or insurance-related issues can be evaluated via pictures and online video conferencing, making this an excellent way to find out more about particular procedures, determine candidacy for treatment, receive answers to questions and facilitate being able to move forward with care once the government lifts all restrictions.

In an abundance of caution, we are asking all current patients who are experiencing a fever, cough, chills, fatigue or any type of respiratory illness to please delay any upcoming appointments at our practice. We can talk with you by phone or email to establish a new date and time for the appointment.

We are all in this together. Our team urges everyone to follow the guidelines recommended by local health authorities and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which include frequent handwashing for a minimum of 20 seconds, social distancing, staying home if you are feeling sick, and contacting your healthcare provider if you feel you are experiencing symptoms.

For more information, please read our blog – Coronavirus and You: Important Information

For further updates, please check our blog.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us by phone or email.