Why Nipple and Areola Reduction?
Nipple reduction surgery is a personalized cosmetic procedure designed to modify the size, shape, location or positioning of the nipple, areola, or both through a reduction in their diameter, length or features.
There are a range of nipple and areola conditions that qualify for reduction surgery, and may be a cause for impacted self-confidence or self-consciousness in nipple appearance, particularly during intimacy. Some female patients find that enlarged or misshapen nipples and areolas may also present breastfeeding difficulties, and can seek a reduction for both medical and aesthetic purposes. Heredity, aging, hormonal changes, weight fluctuations, pregnancy and physical trauma are all common causes of enlarged or misshapen nipples and areolas.
Such conditions may result in stretched or elongated nipples, puffy areolas, nipple or areola asymmetry, noncircular areolas, inverted nipples and other misshapen features. In special cases, the nipples or areolas may not be present, which can be successfully treated with Nipple Reconstruction Surgery.
At The Michael Horn Center in Chicago areola reduction and nipple reduction are minimally-invasive and popular treatments that can relieve any cosmetic concerns associated with misshapen nipple appearance. This procedure is suitable for both men and women, and can be performed at various stages of life for both personal and medical reasons.
Which Conditions Can be Treated with Nipple Reduction?
Nipple and areola reduction can offer permanent or long-term benefits for malpositioned, misshapen or enlarged nipples as a result of natural development or other factors such as weight gain, pregnancy or trauma. This procedure may also help resolve issues of self-esteem or self-confidence due to nipple appearance, as well as certain breastfeeding limitations caused by an unsuitable nipple shape or size. Conditions that can be treated with nipple and areola reduction include:
- Protruding, stretched, elongated or enlarged nipples
- Enlarged areolas
- Stretched areolas as a result of weight loss, pregnancy or breastfeeding
- Puffy areolas (areolas that project outward beyond the breast contour)
- Noncircular areolas (nipples that do not follow a circular pattern or vary in shape)
- Asymmetrical areolas (areolas that differ in appearance or size)
- Misaligned nipples (nipples that are off-center or differ in appearance or size)
- Inverted nipples (treated with Inverted Nipple Correction surgery)
- Absence of nipples (treated with Nipple Reconstruction surgery)
What Are the Benefits of Nipple and Areola Reduction?
Nipple and areola reduction surgery comes with numerous benefits for women or men seeking to address an enlarged or misshapen Nipple Areola Complex that may have developed naturally or as a result of weight fluctuations, pregnancy, trauma or other factors. This procedure may also serve as a supplementary cosmetic treatment in alignment with breast implants, breast reduction and breast lift with the goal of a complete breast enhancement solution. Benefits of nipple and areola reduction include:
- Smaller nipples
- Shorter nipples
- Smaller areolas
- Circular areolas
- Symmetrical nipples and areolas
- Proportionate nipples and areolas
- Contoured nipple and areola projection and shape
- Increased confidence in breast appearance
- Supplementary breast enhancement treatment
How Does Nipple and Areola Reduction Surgery Work?
Nipple and areola reduction is a minimally invasive surgery that involves the removal and modification of existing skin tissue in accordance with a personalized treatment plan. This outpatient procedure is performed in-clinic at one of our advanced surgery sites and typically takes approximately one hour to complete, after which patients can go home and resume their daily activities. Local anesthesia will be administered for purposes of safety and comfort, followed by a pre-determined treatment plan that will involve unique incision sites, techniques and results personalized to your condition and goals.
Nipple and areola reduction involves the following steps:
1. Local Anesthesia
Nipple and areola reduction may be performed under a local anesthetic that prevents pain and discomfort during the procedure. Local anesthesia has a numbing effect on the surgery site and allows the patient to remain awake during the procedure without experiencing negative sensations. Patients who are uncomfortable with the idea of being awake during surgery can elect a sleep-inducing general anesthetic, which will require a more comprehensive medical history check for safety assurance.
2. Incisions, Tissue Modifications and Removal of Excess Tissue
The type of incision involved in your surgical plan will depend on your condition, cosmetic desires and recommended course of treatment. In the case of a nipple reduction, a tiny incision will be made on the nipple itself, followed by the removal of excess tissue. For treatment plans that involve an areola reduction, circular incisions will be made around the perimeter of the areola, after which excess tissue is removed in accordance with the desired areola shape, size and profile.
3. Closing of Incisions
The incisions will be sealed using a technique specific to your treatment plan, which may involve a dissolvable stitch or a permanent suture for optimal healing and long-lasting cosmetic results. Due to the small and precise nature of the incisions, as well as their unique locations, any remaining scars will heal very quickly and become imperceptible shortly after surgery.
Procedures such as Inverted Nipple Correction and Nipple Reconstruction Surgery involve techniques and outcomes that differ from nipple and areola reduction. You and your surgeon will discuss the optimal treatment solution and how each independent treatment—or a combination of them—can help you achieve your goals.
What Should I Expect During My Consultation Visit?
Your consultation visit at the Michael Horn Center for Plastic Surgery is designed to determine your goals and create a personalized treatment plan to achieve them. During your consultation for nipple and areola reduction surgery Chicago plastic surgeon Dr. Michael Horn will listen to any questions or concerns you may have. You will also receive an evaluation of your Nipple and Areola Complex and be informed of how this procedure can affect the shape, size and other features of your nipples or areolas. Your consultation visit is a great opportunity to express your aesthetic desires and expectations, as well as ask questions and provide reference materials of the results you wish to achieve. For your safety, consultation will also include a review of your medical history and lifestyle to determine if you are a good candidate for surgery.
Your consultation will include a discussion of:
- Your cosmetic desires and expectations
- Your medical history
- Current medication use
- Current drug or alcohol use
- Your health and lifestyle
- Risks and side-effects
As well as:
- An evaluation of your Nipple and Areola Complex
- Photographic records
- A discussion of anesthesia use
- A recommended course of treatment
- Surgery preparation and postoperative recovery instructions
What Should I Expect During Nipple and Areola Reduction Recovery?
While nipple and areola reduction is a minimally invasive surgery, a short period of recovery should be expected to ensure optimal healing and cosmetic results.
After surgery, the incisions will be treated and bandaged to promote healing and prevent infection. You will be allowed to go home immediately following treatment, and may return to your daily activities or work on the same day. However, you will be advised to refrain from strenuous physical exertion for several weeks following treatment, and should wear a supportive bra to help avoid physical strain on treatment sites while maximizing cosmetic results.
Pain medication will be provided for any sensations of discomfort, which should go away after just a few days. The treatment areas may be slightly bruised, swollen, shiny, tingling or numb, which are common symptoms of treatment and should disappear within several weeks. It is important to note that patients may experience variable healing rates, which are dependent on the treatment type and patient physiology.
Following surgery and for a recommended period of time, you may be advised to:
- Wear a bra or supportive bandages for at least 6 weeks
- Avoid strenuous physical exertion for up to 6 weeks or as advised by your surgeon
- Avoid sexual activity for 1-2 weeks
- Avoid tanning for a period of time as advised by your surgeon
- Walk regularly to promote healthy circulation and healing and prevent blood clots
- Observe all postoperative instructions as advised by your surgeon
Who is an Ideal Candidate for Nipple and Areola Reduction?
The ideal candidate for nipple and areola reduction surgery is someone who is in good physical health and finds that their nipple or areola size, shape, projection or appearance is too large or in contrast with their cosmetic desires. You may be the ideal candidate for nipple and areola reduction if you:
- Do not smoke
- Have lost weight which has resulted in enlarged, malpositioned, asymmetrical or misshapen nipples or areolas
- Have experienced a change in nipple or areola size and shape following pregnancy or breastfeeding
- Have enlarged, mismatched, misaligned or otherwise misshapen nipples or areolas as a result of heredity, aging or trauma
- Feel self-conscious or are unhappy about your nipple or areola size, shape, profile or appearance
- Have realistic expectations about the possible outcomes of treatment
Schedule a Consultation
If you live in or near Chicago and have questions about nipple and areola reduction surgery, click here to request a consultation online at our downtown Chicago plastic surgery office.
Alternatively, you can call our practice at (312) 202-9000 and one of our helpful staff members will schedule your appointment.