Nipple Reshaping – Areola & Nipple Surgery: What to Expect

Nipple Reshaping and Areola Reduction: Who Is the Ideal Candidate, Benefits, and More

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Perfectly shaped nipples and areolas are easily achieved with a simple procedure that helps boost the confidence of many. If you’ve ever considered nipple reshaping, tons of questions probably popped up in your mind. In this post, we’re going to address all questions or concerns you might have about this procedure. Read on to learn more.

Nipple and areola overview

A common misconception is that the nipple is the whole frontal part of the breast. However, the nipple is at the very centre portion of the breast; it is linked with the mammary glands which produce milk. On the other hand, the areola is the darker coloured area that surrounds the nipple. Areolas vary in size from small to large. Their shape tends to be round or oval.

What is nipple reshaping?

Nipple reshaping or nipple lift refers to surgical procedures whose main objective is to improve the appearance of the nipple and areola. Some women want to reduce the size of their areolas; others want to reduce the size of their elongated nipples. As we’re all different, so are our needs and preferences. Below you’re going to learn more about different procedures that aim to correct areolas or nipples.

Nipple correction surgery

Nipple correction surgery corrects the problems involving asymmetrical, large, inverted, or protruding nipples. Men and women alike can experience these problems. The most common nipple correction surgery is the procedure to address inverted nipples. As a very simple procedure, nipple correction increases your confidence and improves body image. Benefits of nipple correction surgery are not limited to the most intimate moments, but extend to greater comfort when you’re wearing close-fitting style outfits. The newly found confidence improves your quality of life in many ways.

Areola Correction Surgery

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Image sourced from Qunomedical

Nipple correction surgery

Nipple correction surgery corrects the problems involving asymmetrical, large, inverted, or protruding nipples. Men and women alike can experience these problems. The most common nipple correction surgery is the procedure to address inverted nipples. As a very simple procedure, nipple correction increases your confidence and improves body image. Benefits of nipple correction surgery are not limited to the most intimate moments, but extend to greater comfort when you’re wearing close-fitting style outfits. The newly found confidence improves your quality of life in many ways.

Areola Reduction Procedure

Areola correction, or areola reduction surgery, is a simple procedure whose main objective is to decrease the diameter of one or both areolas. The procedure can be performed on its own or in conjunction with other surgeries such as breast lift, breast augmentation, and breast reduction. Areola correction surgery is an option if you’re not satisfied with the size of your areolas,  or if you’ve lost a lot of weight and feeling uncomfortable about stretched out areolas – this simple procedure can help fix that problem. The procedure also works well in cases when areolas change due to pregnancy and breastfeeding.

You’re also a good candidate for this surgery if your areolas are protruding or puffy. The asymmetrical size and shape of areolas make you a good candidate for a correction surgery too.

A simple procedure such as areola correction is usually completed in about one hour. Either local or general anaesthesia is administered, and the whole procedure is performed in an outpatient setting. The procedure involves the removal of the circular area of the outer brown of the areola. The skin that surrounds it is brought inwards while absorbable stitches inside areola serve to decrease its diameter. The new areola is secured with a permanent suture, which prevents it from stretching again.

The recovery process of areola correction is relatively fast. Swelling and bruising are normal after the surgery, but they tend to go away within a day or two. It may take a few weeks for you to see and appreciate the results. Once the areolae heal entirely, you’ll notice they are smaller and more centred.

Inverted Nipple Correction

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Inverted nipple correction is a procedure that corrects the nipple to allow it to project out in a natural way. As one of the most common nipple reshaping procedures, inverted nipple correction helps you become more confident in the appearance of your breasts.

An inverted nipple happens when the nipple is pulled inward into the breast instead of pointing outwards. Also called nipple inversion, invaginated nipple, and nipple retraction, the condition happens due to a number of reasons. Generally speaking, the milk ducts leading to the nipple are overly tight and may lead to an inverted nipple problem, but causes behind this are numerous.

Some of the biggest causes of inverted nipple include:

  • Congenital Cause (was present at birth)
  • Disease or trauma (any condition that involves inflammation may pull the nipple inward)
  • Ageing
  • Complications of breast surgery
  • Breast duct ectasia (benign breast condition wherein a milk duct widens and its walls thicken)
  • Breast cyst
  • Benign breast tumour
  • Subareolar abscess
  • Mastitis (inflammation of breast tissue sometimes accompanied by infection)
  • Infection
  • Fat necrosis

An inverted nipple is not just an aesthetic problem; it can also make it difficult to breast feed your baby. A baby can find it difficult, or even impossible in some cases, to latch on the breast and bring the nipple to their mouth.

Correction of the inverted nipple is a minor surgical procedure, and its main goal is to help you feel better about yourself through a simple and safe approach. Local anaesthesia is enough for this procedure, but in some cases, a general anaesthetic is also used.

Inverted Nipple Procedure

The operation involves placing a small incision along the edge of the nipple. This is done to gently release overly tight milk ducts. This allows the nipple to project out further. A stitch is placed under the nipple to prevent the nipple from losing its projection.  You can notice the improvement right away. The recovery process is simple, you can even start showering the day after the procedure, but keep in mind some bruising and swelling after the surgery is normal, and it may last a few days up to a week.

Nipple Reduction Surgery for a Smaller Nipple Size

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As you can conclude based on the name of the procedure, nipple reduction surgery aims to decrease the size of the nipple. Enlarged nipples or nipple hypertrophy happens when milk ducts develop in an enlarged way. Nipple reduction surgery also includes nipple enlargement caused by breastfeeding due to repetitive suction. Enlarged nipples are a major source of frustration and have a significant impact on confidence and self-esteem. They may also lead to irritation and chafing from constant rubbing against clothes, thus causing discomfort.

The procedure includes the removal of excess parts of the nipple that pose as deformities or contribute to undesirable appearance. Only local anaesthesia is necessary during the procedure. The main goal of the surgery is to decrease the projection or diameter of the nipple. The recovery process is fast and lasts a couple of weeks. You may recover about two weeks after the surgery.

Nipple Lift or Nipple Uplift

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Nipple lift addresses a common concern where the position of the nipples is too low. This usually happens with enlarged breasts. With time, as the skin ages, the nipples start hanging lower or pointing downward. During the procedure, the nipples are lifted to a more aesthetic position. It may also include repositioning nipples that are too narrowly or too widely located from one another. Nipple lift is also a part of breast reduction and breast lift procedures. The most essential aspect of the surgery is to preserve the nerves and blood vessels that supply the nipples. This helps maintain sensation in the nipple and supports its breastfeeding ability. Results are immediate, and the procedure can be done on one or both breasts. For example, if one nipple is hanging lower and the other is not, the nipple lift can help ensure your nipples match.

The whole procedure lasts about 30 to 60 minutes. Since it’s a minimally invasive surgery, local anaesthesia is sufficient, but in some cases, general anaesthesia is also a viable option.

Nipple Reshaping Surgery Frequently Asked Questions

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Who is eligible for nipple reshaping?

You are eligible for nipple reshaping procedures if you have a congenital abnormality affecting nipples or you’re dissatisfied with their appearance. Significant weight loss, breastfeeding, enlarged breasts can all take their toll on the appearance of your nipples and areolas. But, these problems are manageable, and simple surgical procedures can solve them.

What to expect before and after the procedure?

Before the procedure, you will get all the information you need from Dr Doyle during your initial consultation. This information includes information about the procedure and technique that he will use to solve the problem. Nipple reshaping procedures don’t last very long. After the procedure, you can go home immediately unless you had general anaesthesia in which case you’ll need to wait a few hours before you can go home. You may expect swelling and bruising. The operated area can be sore, and you may experience a little bit of pain and discomfort. Swelling and bruising usually go away within a few days. You’ll get all the instructions on what you can and can’t do after the procedure.

When do results become noticeable? How long does the recovery last?

The best thing about nipple reshaping procedures is fast recovery. You can expect to see the results in two to four weeks. Keep in mind the speed of recovery depends on different factors, including your general health and the body’s healing process. Some procedures, such as inverted nipple correction yield result immediately.

How do you make your nipples stand out more?

The importance of nipples that stand out isn’t just about the better appearance of the whole breast, but also because it helps the breastfeeding process. Although the nipple reshaping procedure is the most effective way to achieve it, you may also find some “home remedies”. These include the use of suction devices or nipple retractors that stimulate the nipple and make it protrude.

Hoffman technique is another option for making nipples stand out without surgical procedure. The technique has been around since the 1950s, and it involves placing the thumbs on either side of the nipple (at the base) and pressing firmly into the breast tissue. Then, gently pull thumbs away from each other while still pressing the breast tissue. Proceed to move the thumbs around the nipple and repeat.

There is no guarantee these methods will work, which is why a surgical procedure may be the wisest choice.

How long does nipple reconstruction surgery take?

Nipple reconstruction surgery is fast and convenient. The procedure may last 30 minutes to an hour. The exact duration of the procedure depends on the type. Nipple reconstruction surgery is a procedure that includes reconstruction of the nipple (or both) after a mastectomy, surgical removal of the breast. Types of procedures that fall into nipple reconstruction include:

  • Skin flap reconstruction: small flaps of the skin are raised around the area where the nipple was supposed to be located. The skin flaps are folded and sewn together above the level of the neighbouring skin to adapt to the shape of the nipple.
  • Skin graft reconstruction: a small piece of skin from another part of the body, usually the groin, is grafted around the newly constructed nipple.
  • Medical tattooing: over the top of the reconstructed nipple to make it appear more natural.

Dr Doyle’s preference is to make a nipple mound in the appropriate area using small flaps, wait 3 months and then medically tattoo the nipple and surrounding areola.

Can nipples be surgically removed?

Yes, they can. Surgical removal of nipples is a part of mastectomy, a surgery to remove breast tissue due to breast cancer.

Can you replace your nipples?

Nipple reconstruction is entirely possible if you have had one or both breasts removed due to breast cancer. To have a nipple reconstruction is a personal decision, but it gives you a natural appearance and more confidence. Various procedures can help replace a nipple, such as the reconstruction methods explained above.

What happens if your nipple dies?

Lack of blood flow is the reason why a nipple “dies”. If this occurs a nipple reconstruction can be performed. This is an uncommon risk associated particularly with breast reduction or lift. Sometimes only part of the nipple dies and this can usually be treated with dressings. This called partial necrosis, and with time the area will heal. You may also notice a loss of sensation. Reconstructive surgery to make the remaining nipple look normal and healthy is an effective choice. Reconstructed nipples often have sensation.

Why do nipples stay hard after breast implants?

After breast augmentation procedure nipples may stay hard due to nerve irritation. Although uncomfortable, this problem tends to go away by itself in time.

About Dr Mark Doyle FRACS (Plast) – Queensland Plastic Surgeon

Servicing patients in Gold Coast, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Cairns and New South Wales NSW – Northern Rivers, Byron Bay, Ballina, Lismore and more.

Dr Mark Doyle is a Specialist Plastic Surgeon with over thirty years of experience performing BreastBodyFace and Nose surgery. As a highly esteemed plastic surgeon, Dr Mark is driven by an intense passion for helping patients achieve a happier, more beautiful self through advanced cosmetic surgery procedures.

He maintains a strong commitment to achieving the best possible results for all his breast, body, face and nose patients, both men and women.