Objective and subjective evaluation of donor-site morbidity after nipple sharing for nipple areola reconstruction

W Haslik, J Nedomansky, S Hacker, S Nickl, K F Schroegendorfer
Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery: JPRAS 2015, 68 (2): 168-74
Nipple reconstruction is of importance in achieving the best possible aesthetic outcome after breast reconstruction. Nipple sharing is a common technique; this study focused on the potential morbidity at the donor nipple. Between 2008 and 2012, 26 patients underwent nipple sharing at our institution. The donor nipple was examined before and after the procedure (mean follow-up of 21 months). Sensitivity, projection, diameter, and patient satisfaction were evaluated. The sensitivity in the donor nipple decreased, albeit insignificantly, from 1.2 g/mm2 (0.8-1.6) to 1.8 g/mm2 (0.8-4.8) (p=0.054, n=26). The projection due to graft removal decreased from 8.0 mm (6.8-10.0) to 4.5 mm (4.0-5.0) (p=0.001). Of the patients, 88% were "very satisfied" or "somewhat satisfied" with the sensitivity and 89% with the symmetry between the donor and reconstructed nipple. At least 60% of the patients were "very satisfied" with all aesthetic outcome parameters (projection, appearance, naturalness, color, and shape). All patients would agree to undergo this procedure again, if necessary. Nipple sharing was associated with minimal morbidity at the donor nipple. The postoperative projection was adequate. Regardless of whether simultaneous mastopexy was performed, the loss of sensitivity was minimal and presumably imperceptible to the patient. By using no sutures after graft removal and letting the donor nipple heal spontaneously, scarring was minimized and the natural appearance and good sensitivity of the donor nipple were preserved.

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