Although there are many different shapes and sizes of nipples and areolas, some women are unhappy with the size of their nipples and the dark pigmented skin surrounding them. For some women, genetics may lead to the development of large nipples and areolas. For other women, weight gain, pregnancy, and aging can cause the areola and nipple skin to stretch and become larger than what is considered “normal.” Other women are concerned that their nipples and areolas appear disproportionate to the size of their breasts. Nipple and areola reduction surgeries can be performed to reduce a woman’s nipples and areolas to their previous size and shape and fit them to her definition of beauty. These surgeries can be performed individually or together, depending on the patient’s desires.
If a thinner nipple is desired, a pie-shaped wedge can be removed from the underside of the nipple. For nipple reduction to create a shorter nipple, the tip is often excised and the remaining nipple is sutured closed.
For a combined nipple reduction & areola eduction, the length of the nipple is reduced by removing a section of skin along the bottom of the nipple and then attaching the original tip of the nipple to the base. This allows for a single incision to reduce the size of the nipple and areola, and can then be closed with dissolvable sutures. To exclusively reduce the size of the areola, an incision is made around the outside of the areola, and the necessary amount of pigmented skin is removed. The incision is usually closed with absorbable sutures.
The procedure takes approximately one to two hours, depending on the extent of the surgery, and it is performed on an outpatient basis. Patients can usually return to their normal activities within a few days following surgery, but a support bra should be worn for at least three weeks after the procedure. Because the incisions are so small and along the natural line between the areolas and the breasts or in the natural crease between the nipples and areolas, the resulting scars will be inconspicuous and fade over time.
Before undergoing any surgery, it is important for patients to be fully aware of all possible risks and complications. Possible complications associated with nipple and areola reduction surgery include infection, numbness, and loss of sensitivity, extreme sensitivity, problems with breastfeeding, scarring, and loss of pigmentation. To reduce these risks, it is important to have a board-certified surgeon perform your surgery and to follow all post-operative instructions.
Nipple and areola reduction surgery is commonly combined with other breast procedures, such as breast reduction, breast augmentation, and/or breast lift surgery. These procedures can produce more attractive, youthful breasts that are in harmony with the rest of your body. The majority of patients who undergo nipple and areola reduction surgery are very satisfied with the results of their procedure and have a new sense of confidence regarding the appearance of their breasts.
If you are interested in nipple and areola reduction or any other breast procedures in Alabama, please contact Plastic Surgery Specialists by calling (205) 298-8660. Our board-certified plastic surgeons, Dr. Robert I. Oliver, and Dr. Jason M. Jack look forward to meeting you during your initial consultation.