The team from the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery service at the Bellvitge University Hospital (HUB), in Barcelona, has carried out a reconstruction with a custom-made nipple prosthesis in a patient who had undergone a mastectomy as a result of breast cancer.
In recent years, reconstruction techniques have focused on the breast, but not on the areola or nipple. This new technique will help patients who have overcome cancer to leave behind the physical and emotional consequences of the disease.
Until now, hehe classic form of nipple reconstruction was carried out with the patient’s own tissue with subsequent micropigmentation. However, satisfaction is not optimal: in a very high percentage of patients, as a result of the pressure of the bra, it ends up being crushed and a nipple without projection results.
This new technique, which has been carried out for the first time in Catalonia, is minimally invasive and it is performed in an outpatient procedure and with local anesthesia of about 15 minutes. It consists of implanting an innovative non-porous polyethylene prosthesis that is personalized for each patient.
This permanent device -called Nupple Implant, created by Cristina Varela Mas, a Galician surgeon specializing in Breast Pathology- It is placed under the skin as a nipple button. Between three and six months later, micropigmentation is performed to give it color, making it look natural.
«From six months, from breast reconstruction, when it already has its final shape, the intervention can now be practiced. It improves the final appearance of the breast and achieves long-lasting nipple volume”, explains Anna López Ojeda, head of the HUB Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Service.
In principle, there are candidates for whom the implant will fit better, such as those patients who have undergone a skin-sparing mastectomy with a breast implant behind. “Each case must be assessed individually”, pointed out the plastic surgeon at the Hospital de Bellvitge.
Beyond the priority of treatment and control of the disease, the process of restoring the breast is key to the emotional well-being of many breast cancer patients. Thus, it will help patients who have overcome cancer to be able to leave behind the physical and emotional consequences of it.
“The reconstruction is not limited to an aesthetic improvement, but the absence of the nipple reminds them of the disease. Having this implant allows them to close the cycle of the breast cancer process and continue with their lives”, explained Dr. López Ojeda.
Precisely, the new device that is being tested at the Bellvitge Hospital statistically significant improvement in self-esteem, body image and satisfaction in the psychosocial field and sexual, as well as their satisfaction with the breasts and chests of patients who complete breast reconstruction. These are preliminary results of the prospective study to evaluate the impact of Nupple Implant on satisfaction, quality of life, body image and self-esteem in women with breast cancer, presented as an oral communication at the 2021 National Congress of Reconstructive and Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. .
It is being studied that this minimally invasive and outpatient intervention be part of the hospital’s portfolio of services public in the coming months. In fact, the Bellvitge Hospital was already the first hospital in Catalonia to include micropigmentation within its portfolio of services more than twenty years ago.