Nipple Reconstruction

This information will help you prepare for your nipple reconstruction procedure.

Nipple reconstruction can be done in your doctor’s office or in the operating room. If your nipple reconstruction will be in the operating room, your nurse will give you more instructions.

Before Your Procedure

If your procedure will be done in the operating room, follow the instructions that your nurse gave you. You will need someone to go home with you after your procedure.

If your procedure will be done in clinic, you may be given a prescription for antibiotics to take before your procedure.

The day of your procedure

  • Wear a thin, nonpadded bra or a form-fitting, light-colored shirt. This will help you and your surgeon finalize where your nipple will be placed.
  • Bring loose clothing to wear home after your procedure. You don’t want to have any pressure or friction on your incisions (surgical cuts).
  • If you’ll be going home in a car, bring a small pillow to place between the seat belt and your incision.

If your procedure will be done in the operating room:

  • Follow the instructions your nurse gave you to prepare for your procedure.
  • You can shower, but don’t put on any lotion, cream, powder, deodorant, makeup, perfume, or cologne.
  • If you received stickers to help your surgeon place your nipple, wear them.

If your procedure will be done in clinic:

  • You can shower, but don’t put any lotion, cream, or powder on your chest.
  • You can eat a regular breakfast the morning of your procedure.
  • If you received a prescription for antibiotics, take them as instructed 1 hour before your procedure. If you have any questions about this, call your surgeon’s office.
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After Your Procedure

If your procedure was done in the operating room, you will need someone to go home with you. If your procedure was done in clinic, you can go home on your own.


  • When you leave the hospital or clinic, wear clothing that’s loose and comfortable. Don’t wear clothing that rubs against your incisions.
  • If you will be traveling by car, place a small pillow or towel between the seatbelt and your chest right above your incision. This will keep the seatbelt from putting pressure on your incision. Don’t let the seatbelt rub against your incisions.
  • For the first 2 weeks after your procedure, avoid wearing any clothing that puts pressure on your nipple. If you wear a bra, make sure it fits loosely.

Nipple care

  • You can shower 48 hours after your procedure.
  • If you have any bandages, remove them when you shower. You don’t need to put another bandage on your incisions after you shower, unless your doctor gave you other instructions.
  • Gently wash your nipple with soap and water. Don’t use a washcloth or a scrubbing cloth or brush.

Restrictions on physical activity

Your doctor and nurses will give you instructions on what exercises and movements you can do while your incisions are healing. Make sure to follow those instructions.

Check with your doctor or nurse before starting heavy exercises, such as:

  • Running
  • Jogging
  • Lifting weights

Follow-up appointment

Your first follow-up appointment will be _____ days after your procedure. If you have sutures (stitches) that need to be removed, they will be removed during this appointment.

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Call Your Doctor or Nurse if You Have:

  • A temperature of 101° F (38.3° C) or higher
  • Redness, warmth, or increased pain in your nipple area
  • Shaking chills
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Shortness of breath
  • Drainage or oozing from your incisions
  • Any type of skin infection on any part of your body
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