The areola (a-re-la) is the pigmented glandular skin around the nipple. It is not uncommon for patients to feel uncomfortable with the size of the areola. The goals of areolar reduction surgery are to reduce the size of the areola, often making it more circular in the process. If you are interested in learning more about areola reduction or if you wish to determine whether you are a candidate, be sure to call Dr. York Yates at 801.525.8741 and schedule your personalized consultation!
How is Areola Reduction performed?
Areola reduction requires removal of the excess areolar skin. An appropriate sized circular incision is made around the nipple. The excess areola skin is removed in a doughnut pattern. The outer and inner circles are closed. This procedure is modified a little when performed at the time of a breast lift or breast reduction.
Who is an Ideal Candidate for Areola Reduction?
Sometimes, a change in the shape of the areolas or nipples is all that is needed to significantly improve the appearance of the breasts. There are a few common occurrences that may affect women or men. These can appear on one breast or both, and may be due to hormones, injury, aging, and genetics. You may be a good candidate for areola or nipple reduction surgery if you are self-conscious or frustrated about any of the following:
- Puffy areolas. The areolas are made up of the colored skin around the nipple. Puffiness here can make the breasts appear tuberous or elongated. Puffiness may also be the result of tuberous breasts, a condition in which the base of the breast is abnormally narrow.
- Asymmetry. Your breasts naturally have some degree of asymmetry. This is completely normal. That said, it can be frustrating to see a marked difference in size from one breast to the other, even if that size difference only affects the areolas.
- Noncircular areolas. The areolas are usually circular around the nipples. The area may look odd if the areola is more oval-shaped.
- Enlarged nipples. Nipples that are wide, long, or droopy alter the overall appearance of the breasts.
- Inverted nipples. Nipples that are retracted, sinking inward rather than projecting outward, can cause abnormal appearance.
Having one or more of these complaints is one aspect of being a good candidate for nipple or areola reduction surgery. Of course, you must also be in good health. During your consultation, the doctor will discuss your desired outcome, your lifestyle habits, and their expectations for your cosmetic outcome. Here, it is important to be on the same page so you are not surprised by the results of your surgery.
Is Areola Reduction Safe?
Yes. Areola and nipple reduction procedures are performed on superficial tissue and are considered very safe. That said, all surgeries come with some degree of risk. These include infection, loss of sensation, scarring, and disruption to your breastfeeding ability. Dr. Yates is an experienced plastic surgeon who employs proven surgical techniques that help reduce the risk of complications. Your aftercare will also influence your level of risk and overall healing.
Will the Results of My Nipple Reduction Look Natural?
Dr. Yates performs nipple and areola reduction using conservative, artistic techniques. He takes care to reduce nipple and areola size in relation to the shape and size of your breasts. During your consultation, you will be fully informed regarding the extent of reduction that will take place during your procedure, the techniques that are used to achieve an optimal outcome, and also the doctor's anticipated cosmetic appearance of your breasts.
How Do I Prepare for an Areola Reduction?
Before your minor breast procedure, you should stop smoking if this is relevant to your lifestyle. You may also be advised to refrain from the use of certain substances and medications. Primarily, it is necessary to avoid substances that thin your blood. Aspirin is a relatively well-known blood-thinner, but so is ibuprofen. Some vitamins and herbs can also thin the blood, as can alcohol. After your consultation, when you are scheduled for your surgery, you can expect to receive detailed pre-op instructions that will help you prepare for your procedure and recovery. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
What is the Recovery and Aftercare for Nipple Reduction?
Your nipple or areola reduction surgery is an outpatient procedure. After you are alert and able to stand and walk with little assistance, you will be released to a loved one to drive you home. Your post-op instructions will outline when you can start taking your prescription or over-the-counter pain medication. Soreness and tenderness are common side effects of the procedure. You might also experience some shooting pains, though these should not be constant. To alleviate these symptoms, apply cool compresses (not ice) to the surgical site for a few minutes at a time. This remedy may also help to reduce swelling and bruising more quickly.
The reduction of your nipple or areola is a conservative process but one that requires you to take it easy for at least one week after surgery. The area may be covered with a small piece of gauze that you will need to change periodically. Your post-op instructions will discuss wound care such as applying a topical antibiotic cream or another ointment to facilitate healing. You may also be advised to wear a compression garment to support your healing tissue. Until the breasts have fully healed, it may be necessary to avoid lifting objects over 15 to 20 pounds and also to limit physical activity to some degree.
What trade-offs are associated with Areola Reduction?
The major trade-off is the scar that extends completely around the areola. Depending on the size of the areola and the shape of the breast, this can lead to a little central breast flattening as well. For protruding or puffy nipples this flattening is desirable.
A common complication after areola reduction is recurrence as the skin envelope pulls the areola outward. Prevention of this issue requires an accurate patient selection and long-lasting internal suturing techniques.
What kind of anesthesia is used for Areola Reduction surgery?
Anesthesia for areola reduction can range from local anesthesia to sedation to general anesthesia. In our practice, local anesthesia with or without sedation is preferred.