Nipple-areola reconstruction with a dermal-fat flap and rolled auricular cartilage

H Y Tanabe, Y Tai, K Kiyokawa, T Yamauchi
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery 1997, 100 (2): 431-8
In reconstruction of the nipple-aerola complex, it is important to maintain nipple projection. The conventional methods of reconstructing the nipple using local skin flaps maintain the feature for a certain period postoperatively, but the height of the nipple eventually flattens as the scars soften over time. Considering that sustaining the feature of the nipple is most important for achieving and maintaining nipple projection, we have therefore devised a new operative technique. Rolled auricular cartilage is placed in the center of the bridge of the dermal base and is wrapped with bilobed dermal-fat flaps. This technique has the following advantages: The cartilage produces and sustains a good form of the feature without subcutaneous depression because the cartilage is supported by the bridge of the dermal base. Since the dermal base forms a bridge, the method is safe, maintains good circulation, and does not lead to any necrosis in the flap. This method also was compared with a method in which the rolled auricular cartilage is wrapped with a trilobed dermal fat flap.

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