Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
I had a simple mastectomy 5 years ago. I had a tram flap and later a skate flap nipple-areola reconstruction. I have been satisfied with the outcome with the exception of the nipple projection, which has failed. I understand this is common. I had the procedure repeated 2 years ago with the same problem. I understand it is possible to have a cartilage implant. Is there any other type of implant specifically for the nipple available now?
Don LaRossa MD, Professor of Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, responds:
This occasionally happens. It is difficult to maintain nipple projection after this has occurred. Cartilage has been used with some success. It remains permanently but does not always give a great deal of projection. Some of the newer filler materials have been used. I do not know of any prosthetic nipples that are currently available. A patient of mine was working on one but I don't know whether she was able to get them into mass production.