Q&A: How long can I expect the healing process for nipple necrosis?
posted on 6/4/2014
Ask A Doctor Question:
How long can I expect the healing process for nipple necrosis. I had a breast reduction. One side healed beautifully, the other developed nipple necrosis. The nipple has been removed and I underwent another surgery to clean it up. Now I have a golf ball size hole from the nipple to the inside of the breast. The Dr. has been seeing it every day, and using gauze and betadine solution to pack the opening. Each time he has seen me since the debridement surgery he has cut out more dead tissue. He assures me it will heal from the inside out. It looks pretty awful to me, thankfully there is no pain, but I'm not sure that is good either. Any suggestions you can tell me would be greatly appreciated.- Debbie
--Haroon Aziz, M.D.
What you have is more than just nipple necrosis but underlying breast tissue necrosis as well. This is a long healing process (3 to 4 months) with early debridement and then allowing the open wound to granulate in. You are still on the front end of this process as the extent of the necrosis is still being determined and removed. The healing part has not yet started. It is typical in necrotic wounds that it will look worse before it starts to get better. It is important to let the entire wound heal in on its own which will be done by the development of granulation tissue and wound contracture. Only then can the issue of what form of nipple reconstruction can be considered.
--Barry L Eppley, M.D., D.M.D.
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