Coping with nipple removal, and finding a replacement

Hi everyone 

I had a lumpectomy a month ago and the surgeon had to remove my nipple, which was a bit of a blow, as the cancer was growing right behind it. She used a starfish technique, so I am left with 5 scars radiating from the centre, and there is a dip where the nipple used to be. It’s healing well but I am aware of looking lopsided.  The surgeon said I can have plastic surgery after chemotherapy and radiotherapy and mentioned nipple tattoos. I have researched these on line and they do look amazing, but not in profile I guess.

Does anyone have experience of nipple reconstruction or tattoos?


Hello Carmen, in 2010 I was diagnosed with early cancer in my left breast during a routine screening.  Within weeks I had a mastectomy of my left breast with immediate reconstruction.  The cancer was confined to that breast so there was no need for radio- or chemo-therapy.  I was very fortunate.

The original nipple was removed during surgery but a flap of skin was left to recreate that nipple during the breast reconstruction.  It was not as prominent as a normal nipple but aesthetically was very pleasing. Some weeks later when the breast had settled down the surrounding area was tattooed to give it some natural pinkish colour.  The tattooing was a rather sensitive procedure but well worthwhile.  This was all carried out on the NHS and part of my reconstruction/recovery process.

Ten years later the tattooing has faded a little and the nipple somewhat flatter.  However, the breast still looks amazing with no scarring.  I was so very fortunate to have had the opportunity to have the immediate breast reconstruction at the same time as the mastectomy.  Not everyone has that especially if there’s a need for radio- or chemo-therapy. 

I hope this helps.  I wish you well on your own journey.  Stay safe.  Warm wishes.  xx