Most women contemplating breast enhancement are considering breast augmentation, breast lift or a breast reduction, But for some, their concerns are confined to the look of their nipples and areolas. Some women’s nipples are inverted, or turned inward. Some women feel their nipples protrude too far. For others, the problem is areolas that are too big or too puffy. But no matter what the problem is, the solution is almost always a simple procedure.
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. This page discusses options to reduce enlarged areolas. If you are interested in solutions for the size of the areola you can have a complimentary consultation with Dr. Alfredo Harris.
Large areolas may look out of proportion with the rest of the breast – especially if the patient has had a breast reduction or breast lift, but it happens naturally as well (often after childbirth). There are no medical complications from having large areolas, so the desire to reduce the areola is purely cosmetic, but can really positively affect the patient’s self-esteem and body image.
The surgery usually takes less than one hour and the patient can return to their normal activities within a day or two. Sensitivity is usually maintained and all steps are taken to maintain the patient’s ability to breastfeed.
Surgical Reduction of Enlarged Areola
All reductions begin with a doctor examination to determine the available options to achieve the desired results. Areolar Reduction is done by removing some of the pigmented areola, either by an incision around the outside of the areola or by an incision around the base of the nipple.
Very large areolas may require a lollypop-shaped closure. This is where a vertical incision runs down from the nipple as well as around the areola and then is closed in the shape of a lollypop.
The goal is to minimize scarring and this is achieved by performing the smallest incision necessary. Dissolving sutures are placed underneath the skin – these minimize scarring as well as eliminate the need to come back into the office for a “painful suture removal day.”
The reduction is performed at the clinic and can be performed with local anesthesia.
Areola Reduction Recovery
Recovery time will depend on the patient, but most patients can return to work and resume their normal activity within a day or two.
This treatment does not normally affect the ability to breastfeed. Some women are unable to breastfeed even without surgery. For more information, please see the La Leche League web site.
Plan to come in and talk with Dr. Harris soon. He has many years of experience with all types of breast enhancement , including nipple and areola surgery.