Arterial anatomy of the nipple-areola complex

Plast Reconstr Surg. 1995 Sep;96(4):843-5. doi: 10.1097/00006534-199509001-00012.


The blood supply of the nipple-areola complex was investigated radiographically in five fresh cadavers that had been systemically injected with lead oxide. The blood supply of the breast is derived from the external mammary, internal mammary, intercostal, and thoracoacromial arteries. We found that branches of the external and internal mammary arteries provided the dominant blood supply to the nipple-areola complex. These branches provide small vessels that traverse the subcutaneous tissue to the nipple-areola complex. Branches are given off to the areolar skin. These ascended, arborizing in the upper and middle thirds of the nipple.

MeSH terms

  • Angiography
  • Humans
  • Mammary Arteries / anatomy & histology
  • Mammary Arteries / diagnostic imaging
  • Nipples / blood supply*