I had nipple reconstruction and tidying up of dog ears just under 5 weeks ago. This was done as day surgery with local anaesthetic. It took about 1.5 hours and I had no pain. The surgeon asked me where I though the nipple should be positioned and gave me a sticky pad to mark the spot as I looked in the mirror; he then reviewed with the nurse and then marked location up with a pen.
Only had to undress top half and I was able to chat to the surgeon during the operation and was able to look at the new nipple at the end of the operation.
The dog ear area had tape put on it and glue. The nipple area had both types of stitches and a dressing on it to protect from nipple being damaged, this had to stay on for a week and I was told to try and avoid getting the nipple dressing wet, so was careful when I showered (baths not advised as would soak the dog ear area). I wore a bra with one cup size larger than than normal to give it some room (I seem to have multiple bras these days after DIEP!) I was fine doing ordinary things that afternoon so you should not need to have time off work apart from the day itself (and follw up outpatients) I did not have any pain; dog ear area slightly itchy but nothing that needed painkillers.
Back for appointment after one week to remove the nipple dressing, which was replaced with foam circle to be worn all the time until next appointment. You are given sheets of a thin foam and you cut circles of this with a hole for the nipple and fix wiht tape, depending on how far the nipple sticks out you may need more than one layer. At the beginning my areas of the nipple were a bit weepy but this dried up. The nipple looked almost black because it was caked in dried blood but I was told this is normal.
After 2 weeks was able to get breast wet and dab the nipple dry (told to avoid getting too much soap on it and also not to rub it while in shower. You use the foam circles at night as well. The nurse suggested that I leave everyhting off and just wear cotton top for a few hours when I was at home and not doing much, to help things dry out and heal. This was a good idea especially as the weather has been so hot.
The nipple now has one small scabby area but otherwise pink. Each side of the nipple there is a horizontal scar where they cut the skin, this has healed well. The dog ear area was healing well after 2 weeks and I stopped using tape. I found the nurse at the wound clinic very helpful and they will advise you based on how things are progressing. They will also book follow up appointments based on how things are going. My next appointment will be with the surgical team, whihc will be 6 weeks since the operation.
Having got through a DIEP I think you will find this very manageable. Its early days for me but the nipple looks very good match for the other one. I will have a tatoo in 3 months.
All the best
It's Emily here from Breast Cancer Care.
While you're waiting for replies on here, I thought I'd let you know that one of our email volunteers, Catriona had nipple reconstruction. You'd be very welcome to email her to ask her about her experience: email@example.com
Wishing you all the best in the meantime.
Emily at Breast Cancer Care
I had diep reconstruction 5 years ago, which I have been extremely happy with. I have just seen my consultant about having dog ear revision surgery, she has also encouraged me to have a new nipple
I was just wondering if anyone can offer any advice, how long will it take to recover after the surgery? is it sore for some time after? How soon could you go back to work? I am having the surgery under general anaesthetic and I know its not a long procedure
I just feel a bit nervous after not having any surgery for a while
Also, were you happy with the new nipple, did it look very natural? Did it look similar to your natural nipple?