Nipple – Areola Correction

What Is Nipple – Areola Correction?

What many women think of as “the nipple” is actually made of two parts: the nipple and the areola. The nipple is the projected part and the areola is the dark pigmented skin that surrounds the nipple.

The nipple and areola together constitute one of the most important cosmetic units of the breast, and problems in this area can be a source of significant unhappiness for patients. Some common problems of the nipple and areola include inverted nipples, excessively large areolas, and protruding (“puffy”) areolas.


Inverted (inward pointing) nipples are actually fairly common. This problem occurs in as many as 2% of women, and can affect one or both sides. Inverted nipples can result from a narrow nipple base, excessively short milk ducts, or by scarring of the milk ducts (after a milk duct infection, for example). There are various degrees of nipple inversion, graded by severity. In the mildest form, nipples tend to invert when stimulated by cold or touch, but are usually in the normal position. In the moderate form, the nipples are usually inverted, but can be pushed out with manual pressure. In the severe form, no amount of squeezing can correct the inversion. Breast-feeding can be a problem with the moderate to severe cases, and many women feel very self-conscious of their inverted nipples regardless of the severity.


Large Areolas. There is no perfect areola size, as everyone has his or her own sense of what looks best. Despite this, many women still feel that their areolas are too large. Sometimes, large areolas are associated with large breasts, in which case both can be corrected simultaneously with a breast reduction or a breast lift. However, in women who are happy with their breast size but unhappy with their areola size – a relatively simple procedure can reduce the areola to a smaller, more aesthetic size.


Protruding (“Puffy”) Areolas. Some women are embarrassed because they believe that their areolas are too “puffy”. The skin of the areola is not as thick as the surrounding skin, and the underlying breast tissue can push through, causing a mound under the areola. It can be corrected, much like the problem of an excessively large areola, by reducing the areola’s overall size and “tightening it up”.


Many other variations of nipples and areolas exist which can cause embarrassment to patients, such as excessively long nipples or irregularly shaped areolas. But no matter what the problem is, the solution is almost always a simple procedure.


Who Is a Good Candidate for Nipple – Areola Correction?

If you have realistic expectations for improving the appearance of large areolas or nipples may be candidates for surgery.

Breast feeding can leave a woman’s nipple long and droopy, many women request this procedure along with a Breast Augmentation following child rearing in order to once again obtain a more full, natural and youthful appearance. Many men request nipple reduction because they are embarrassed by the size of their nipples with or without clothes on.

An initial consultation with surgeon will help to determine if nipple or areola correction is right for you.


How Should You Prepare for Nipple – Areola Correction?

The initial consultation with your surgeon will require your complete medical history, so you will want to be prepared to provide the necessary information. Your surgeon will examine your breasts and discuss lifestyle issues which may be causing your condition. You must be completely open and honest with your surgeon. If there is any medical problem, you will be referred to a specialist.

The surgeon will assess your individual needs and decide what course of treatment presents the best way forward and will help you formulate a realistic and achievable goal.

Any questions that you may have can be brought up at this time.

Your doctor will be able to tell you how to adequately prepare for the procedure by giving you guidelines on what you can eat/drink, as well as what medications and vitamins to take.


How Is Nipple – Areola Correction Surgery Performed?

The procedure is an outpatient procedure which can be combined with a breast augmentation, breast lift, or reduction. Surgical time by itself takes between 30 min to 1 hour.

Surgery of the nipple alone involves small incisions around the base of the nipple. These incisions are used to either correct the inverted nipple or the enlarged or drooping nipple.

Corrections of areolar cosmetic disfigurements are performed through an incision around the areola. Usually this incision heals extremely well. For the enlarged protruding areola, excessive areolar skin is removed and the tissue underneath the areola tightened so that the areola lies flat on the surface of the breast.

In the case of irregular or enlarged areola or asymmetric areola, various amounts of skin are removed from the surface of the areola in order to produce a circular areola, which matches the other side. If needed, the remaining breast is reshaped and lifted using a breast lift (mastoplexy).


What Is Recovery Like After Nipple – Areola Correction Surgery?

There is usually minimal pain associated with nipple and areola correction, though pain medication can be taken to ease any discomfort. Healing is generally quick. Bruising may occur and typically fades within two weeks. Swelling is also common and can result in some temporary numbness or tingling which typically resolves within six weeks. A special surgical bra is typically worn at all times during the first few days after surgery. A return to work and light activity can typically be expected within one to two days after a nipple or areola reduction.

Recovery time will depend on the patient, but most patients can return to work and resume their normal activity within a day or two.

While rates of healing vary widely and can sometimes be a source of worry, the final result is what matters most.


Will the Results of Nipple – Areola Correction Surgery Be Permanent?

Results of nipple and/or areola reduction are permanent.


What Are Possible Complications From This Procedure?

When the procedure is performed by a highly qualified cosmetic surgeon complications are rare and usually minor. However, as with any surgery, there are potential complications and risks. Your physician will spend time discussing these with you during your scheduled consultation. Be sure to bring a list of questions or concerns with you. All patients are instructed to discuss the general surgical risks with their surgeon.