Areola Reduction Surgery
Your areola is the pigmented skin around your nipple. Some women think that their areolae are too large or too puffy, or that they stand out too much. This can occur because of genetics, massive weight loss, implants or breastfeeding. With age, the areolae may expand and stretch.
Areola reduction surgery may help. This procedure removes the excess areola tissue and improves the overall cosmetic appearance of your areolae.
What to Expect During and After Your Areola Reduction Surgery
Areola reduction surgery is usually performed under light sedation, general anesthesia or even local anesthetic. Performed in an operating room, this surgery usually takes two hours to complete.
The areolae may stretch as the breasts begin to sag. As a result, areola reduction surgery is done in combination with other breast surgeries such as breast lift, breast reduction or breast augmentation surgery with implants. In areola size reduction surgery, incisions are made in two concentric circles around the edges of the areola. Next, your surgeon removes a donut of tissue and skin, taking care to leave the area around the nipple intact. (The nipple is still attached to its blood supply and the milk ducts.) The surgeon then closes the incision with sutures around the areola that are pulled in to tighten the skin around the areola. The scar is hidden around the edge of the areola and will likely fade with time.
Scars can cause a loss of skin pigmentation that results in lightened areas of skin. Discuss potential scar-fading treatments with your surgeon in advance. For example, areola tattooing, or micropigmentation, can counter this effect by tattooing pigment into the lightened areas so they blend. Please visit our Areola Repigmentation Section for more information.
Areolar reduction surgery is usually done on an outpatient basis, and as a result, you will be able to go home shortly after your surgery. You will, however, need someone to drive you home after the procedure.
Your surgeon should go over postoperative instructions with you. You likely will be able to shower the following day, and you will probably be permitted to resume most activities within a few days. Your stitches will be removed a week after surgery. The results are permanent.
Areola Reduction Surgery Risks
All surgeries have risks, including areola reduction surgery. Risks may include:
- Anesthesia complications
- Hematoma (a break in a blood vessel, causing localized blood-filled area or blood clot)
- Seroma (collection of fluid under the skin)
- Tissue death
- Permanent numbness, or loss of sensation
- Asymmetry or unsatisfactory cosmetic results
Areola Reduction Surgery Cost
The cost of areola reduction surgery is around $1,000. This is only the surgeon's fee. Other associated costs may include anesthesia, an operating room fee, cost of medications and laboratory tests. If your areola reduction surgery is done in concert with another breast surgery, the costs will likely be significantly higher. Insurance does not cover the cost of wholly cosmetic procedures such as areola reduction surgery. If you can't pay all at once, ask your surgeon about your financing options.