Areola Reduction Surgery

What Is Areola Reduction Surgery?

Your areolas are the pigmented areas surrounding your nipples. Like breasts, areolas vary widely in size, color, and shape. It’s perfectly normal to have large or differently sized areolas.

Are you unhappy with how your areolas look?  Are they too large, different sizes and would like to change their appearance.  Oversized areolas can be a result of genetics, pregnancy, weight loss/gain, or aging.

Or do you have stretched areolas due to excessive weight loss, puffy or protruding areolas, and mismatched areolas or simply don’t like how they look?

Who Can Get This Procedure?

Areola reduction is an option for any man or woman who’s not happy with the size of their areolas.

This procedure works well if you’ve lost a significant amount of weight and, as a result, have stretched areolas. It also works well if your areolas changed after pregnancy or breastfeeding.

Other ideal candidates include people with puffy or protruding areolas. Some people with asymmetrical areolas choose to get one reduced to match the other.

For women, areola reduction surgery shouldn’t be performed until breasts are completely done growing, usually by late teens or early 20s. Adolescent males may be able to have this procedure done at an earlier age.

How Is Areola Reduction Done?

Areola reduction surgery is a fairly simple procedure that can be completed in about one hour.

An areola reduction is a routine surgery where the diameter of the areola is reduced. It can be performed as a solo operation and you can get one or both areolas reduced. The average diameter of an areola is about 4.7 cm or slightly more than an inch and three quarters. The perfect size of your areola, however, depends on multiple factors, such as your bust size and height.  Sometimes the surgery is performed during a breast reduction, breast augmentation, or a breast lift.

Your doctor will cut a doughnut-shaped piece of tissue out of your areola. This circular incision will be made along the border of your existing areola, where the scar can be more easily hidden.  They’ll secure your new areola with a permanent suture deep inside your breast. This suture will prevent the areola from stretching.  They’ll use removable or dissolvable stiches to close your incision site. Your doctor may fit you with a special postsurgical bra or apply surgical dressings.

If you received a local anesthetic, you’ll be able to go home almost immediately after surgery. If you received general anesthesia, your doctor will monitor you for a few hours before discharging you.

What Are The Risks Of Areolar Reduction?

Areola reduction surgery is very safe, but like all surgeries, it comes with risks. This includes:

Loss of sensation. During areola reduction surgery, doctors leave the center of your nipple in place to reduce the risk of sensation loss. You may have a temporary loss of sensation during the healing process, but this is rarely permanent.

Scarring. There will be a scar running around the outer edge of your areola, and the severity of this scarring varies. Sometimes the scar fades so much it’s nearly invisible, other times it can be very noticeable. Scars are often darker or lighter than the surrounding skin.

Inability to breastfeed. When your doctor removes a piece of your areola, there’s a risk of damage to the milk ducts. Although this is rare, there’s a chance that you’ll be unable to breastfeed in the future.

Infection. You can drastically reduce your risk of infection by following your aftercare instructions carefully.

Areola Reduction Surgery Recovery. 

Recovery from areola reduction surgery is relatively quick. Although you may have some swelling and bruising, you can usually go back to work in one or two days.

Your doctor might mention that you should:

  1. expect an increase in pain during your first postsurgical period
  2. take over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen (Advil)
  3. wear a surgical bra or soft sports bra for several weeks
  4. abstain from sex for the first week
  5. abstain from physical chest contact for three to four weeks
  6. refrain from lifting heavy objects or doing any strenuous cardio for the first few weeks