Areola (Nipple) Reduction
An areola/nipple reduction surgery is an elective plastic surgery procedure, which helps to reduce the size of the areola/nipple area.
It is an extremely quick procedure and is usually considered by women who feel that their nipples are too big in relation to the size of their breasts. Breast augmentation surgery and breast reduction surgery has also become popular, therefore in some cases it is not the actual breast that needs reducing, it is the size of the nipple and/or areola.
The nipple ideally is located in the centre of the breast and is surrounded by the areola, which is the darker pink skin, which is in the shape of a circle. This surgery is not only for women, men also suffer with overly large nipples and larger than normal areola and this can lead to lack of self confidence, lack of self esteem and embarrassment.
Why have Areola (Nipple) Reduction Surgery?
Some individuals are affected so badly by the size of their nipples and areola area that they resort to becoming celibate. The good news for these individuals is that plastic surgeons have found a way in which to successfully reduce the size of the nipple and areola. Not only is it now a quick and simple procedure, it can have the individual ready to face the world, with new breasts and greater self-confidence.
Areola/nipple reduction is a surprisingly simple operation and is virtually risk free however, one should know that before having this surgery, that once the nipple and surrounding areola have been reduced, there is no way of reversing the procedure. It is therefore important to make sure that you have gone through all eventualities with your plastic surgeon prior to the operation. Nipple surgery is not usually performed on its own; it is often combined with other breast surgeries such as a breast lift, breast enhancement or breast reduction surgery.
There are quite a few different techniques for the procedure, so it really depends on the individual’s requirements as well as the surgeons’ preferences. The common technique is to remove some of the nipple and the surgeon stitching the slightly smaller nipple back to the breast using dissolvable stitches would then follow this. This would mean that no stitches would have to be removed.
If the individual requires an areola reduction, then the surgeon will remove either the outer part of the areola or the inner part and then stitch the wound to the required size. If the areola is too large, then there is a very special technique where by the surgeon makes the incision all around the areola as well as an incision from the nipple down the centre of the breast, part of the areola is removed and the breast is stitched back up again. The name of this technique is called ‘Lollipop technique’ as the incision forms the shape of a lollipop.
Some individuals find that due to the sheer weight of the large areola and nipples, this can cause the breasts to point downwards. However, for some, after having their nipple and areola reduced in size this tends to lift the breasts up a little, removing the need to have a breast lift.
Risks and Complications
Generally, modern day surgery is considered safe.
There are always risks associated with having surgery under a general anaesthetic. These risks include; suppressed breathing, blood clots in the legs, blood clots in the lungs, heart failure and even death. This will be discussed with you in your consultation and again just before you go down to your surgery. Approximately one-third of patients who receive an anaesthetic during surgery will experience “anaesthesia sickness” or post-operative nausea and vomiting (POVN).
The risks and complications associated with the nipple and areola reduction itself can include infection as a potential risk and complication, however it is extremely rare. Infection can usually be treated with a course of antibiotics.
The nipple area is the most sensitive part of the breast and one of the most sensitive parts of the body. When having this reduction surgery, this can cause the nerves to be damaged accidentally, which can lead to loss of sensation. Loss of sensation is pretty common; however it usually wears off after the wound has healed. There are however, some who never regain their feeling back in their nipples.
The ability to breastfeed can be affected by the procedure but this is rare, even if you have lost the feeling in your nipple.
Some individuals loose the pigment in their skin after the procedure. The pigment is what gives the areola that well-known colour change. Losing the colour of the nipple can be another complication when having this procedure.
In the worst cases, some men and women loose the blood flow to the nipple after having this surgery; this can result in the nipple turning black in colour and can even result in the nipple falling off. This is an extremely rare complication.
Q. How long will the results of this procedure last for?
A. The results of this procedure should be permanent; however there is no way of knowing for sure how the body will change in the future.
Q. Does smoking cause any issue when undergoing this procedure?
A. Smoking can slow down the healing process as well as affect your breathing whilst under general anaesthetic. Smoking can be extremely detrimental to not only your health but also the healing of your nipple reduction so the answer is not to smoke.
Q. Can I have the surgery under sedation and local anaesthetic?
A. Yes it is possible to have this surgery with a local anaesthetic and sedation however it really is up to your surgeon. Make sure that you discuss all of your options prior to having the surgery.
Q. Will my insurance cover my nipple/areola reduction surgery?
A. You will have to ask your insurance company as they all have different policies. Normally it is very unlikely for your insurance to pay for an elective plastic surgery.
Q. Will I have to stay in hospital after my nipple/areola surgery?
A. It depends on which form of anaesthesia you and your surgeon choose. If you have a general anaesthetic you may need to stay in hospital overnight for observation, to ensure no complications arise. If you have a local anaesthetic with sedation, if you recover fully, there is no reason why you cannot go home after the operation.