Background: After gender-affirming mastectomies with free nipple grafts, satisfaction with nipples tends to fall short behind chest outcomes. This might be related to changes in nipple areolar complex (NAC) dimensions over time. Therefore, the aim of this study is to establish the long-term changes in NAC morphology and compare these to cisgender male NAC outcomes. Materials: An observational, cross-sectional study was performed. Data from two prospective cohorts were collected: (1) transgender men after a mastectomy with free nipple grafts and (2) cisgender men (reference sample). Demographics and 3-D images were collected for both groups. NAC measurements were performed on the 3-D images at 4 time points (7-, 30-, 90- and 365-days postoperative) in transgender men and once in cisgender men. Furthermore, the BODY-Q (nipple module) was administered postoperatively at 30-, 90- and 365-days in transgender men. Results: In total, 67 transgender and 150 cisgender men were included. NAC width and height in trans men changed from 21.5 mm (±2.7) to 23.8 mm (±3.9, p<0.001) and 16.2 mm (±2.5) to 14.7 mm (±3.0, p=0.01) within a year, respectively. On average, the NACs increasingly rotated 21 degrees in the latero-caudal direction (p<0.001). The mean NAC width and height in cisgender men were 28.1 mm (±5) and 20.7 mm (±4), being significantly larger than in transgender men. Satisfaction for size, shape and flatness decreased significantly after postoperative day 30 (p=<0.05) in transgender men. Conclusions: Morphology of and satisfaction with the NACs in transgender men significantly changed over time. Understanding and incorporating these differences into pre-operative counseling and surgical planning might help increase patient satisfaction. Level of Evidence IV: This journal requires that authors assign a level of evidence to each article. For a full description of these Evidence-Based Medicine ratings, please refer to the Table of Contents or the online Instructions to Authors www.springer.com/00266.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2174-2180
Number of pages7
JournalAesthetic plastic surgery
Issue number5
Early online date2022
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


  • Anthropometry
  • Gender surgery
  • Mastectomy
  • Morphology
  • Nipple reconstruction
  • Transgender individual

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