Procedures/ Areola Reduction

Areola Reduction

Procedures 6 min read


Areolar Reduction

Many women (and men) pay a lot of attention to the breast size and shape. People will often go to plastic surgeons requesting procedures such as breast augmentation, breast lift, breast reduction, and gynecomastia surgery to enhance the appearance of their breasts. But one factor that is commonly overlooked is addressing the nipple and areola. What many people don't realize is that something like an areola reduction can create a more aesthetically pleasing appearance.

If you are self-conscious about your nipple appearance or the dark skin surrounding them (the areolas), then please continue reading. Learn how nipple and areola reduction can give you more symmetrical, proportionate, and natural looking nipples and areolas.

Can I make my areolas smaller?

Yes, it is possible to surgically make the areolas smaller. The nipple is the projection which is usually located in the center of the breast. The areola is the circular colored skin surrounding the nipple. The nipple areola complex (NAC) plays a significant role in the overall aesthetic appearance of the breasts. The size, shape, and location of the nipple varies from person to person. Areolas come in various shapes and sizes. There is no such thing as a normal areola. However, many men and women are self-conscious about their nipples and areolae. An areola reduction surgery can make large areolae smaller. It can also reduce sagging, puffiness, or protrusion of the areolae.

What is areola reduction surgery?

An areola reduction surgery is an outpatient cosmetic procedure that is performed to reduce the size of the areolas. The procedure is customized to each individual patient. It can also include nipple reduction as well. Areola reduction can also be done with other breast procedures, for example, breast lift, breast augmentation, breast reduction, and gynecomastia surgery.

Why get an areola reduction?

Large areolas are a common occurrence in both men and women. They can occur due to genetics, aging, hormones, or trauma. Large areolas can make people self-conscious. Areola reduction surgery can make the areolas more proportionate to the breast size and improve self-confidence and self-esteem. There can also be medical reasons to perform areola reduction, for example, if a woman has problems with breastfeeding. Some people may want to have an areola reduction after significant weight fluctuations.

Besides large areolas, puffy areolas are another reason to undergo areola reduction. In some individuals, the breast tissue pushes the areolas forward, giving the breasts an elongated or tubular appearance. In such patients, an areola reduction can be combined with a breast lift for optimum results.

Some patients have one areola that is larger than the other. Plastic surgeons can reduce the size of the larger areola to more closely match the smaller one and achieve greater symmetry.

Another reason to undergo areola surgery is to make the areola more circular (if it has an irregular shape).

Patients may choose to undergo nipple reduction surgery at the same time as an areola reduction procedure for enlarged, droopy, or inverted nipples. Some men and women don't have nipples (due to trauma, mastectomy, or from birth). Plastic surgeons can reconstruct nipples with skin grafts, cartilage, and tissue flaps in such patients.

What is a good age to undergo areola reduction?

Women are usually advised to wait until their breasts are fully matured (usually after age 20). It is also a good idea to wait until you are done with pregnancy and breastfeeding because the areolas can stretch at these times and reverse the effects of the areola reduction procedure. Men can have the procedure as early as their teens.

Who is a good candidate for nipple areola reduction?

Men and women who are in good general health wish to reduce the size of their areolas are good candidates for areola reduction. It is important to have realistic expectations from the procedure. Before signing up for this surgery, work with your plastic surgeon to understand what areola reduction can and cannot accomplish.

What happens during areola reduction surgery?


Your surgeon will see you in consultation before a nipple or areola reduction. At this appointment, you can explain your aesthetic desires to your plastic surgeon. Your doctor will perform a thorough examination to determine if the surgery can help you meet your cosmetic goals.

If you are deemed to be a good candidate for areola reduction, your doctor will explain the various surgical options to you and help you choose the best one. The surgeon will also discuss complimentary procedures that can be done at the same time for optimum results. They will discuss the procedure in detail, including preoperative preparation and postoperative recovery.


A nipple or areola reduction surgery is done with local anesthesia. It is an outpatient procedure that is highly customized to each patient. On average, the nipple areola reduction operation takes approximately one hour to complete.

Two concentric incisions are made in the areola at the desired size. The excess skin is removed and the incision is closed with purse string sutures to create a permanently smaller areola. During areola or nipple reduction surgery, these structures remain attached to the body. The blood supply and milk ducts are not disrupted, thus preserving the ability to breastfeed in the future. However, not every woman can breastfeed after surgery (some women are unable to breastfeed even if they have not had surgery).

How painful is areola reduction?

You will have the surgery under anesthesia so you won't feel anything. There can be some mild discomfort during the healing process. This can usually be managed with pain medication. The discomfort is usually the maximum in the first 1-2 days and improves rapidly after that.

How long is recovery after areola reduction?

You can go home straight away after your areola reduction surgery. You will need someone to take you home as you might be drowsy after the anesthesia. Most patients can return to their daily routine, including work, in 1-2 days.

Your incisions will be covered with a clean gauze and your surgeon will advise you about using an antibiotic ointment to prevent infection. You will need to go back to your doctor's office to have the stitches taken out after 5-7 days. The scars from nipple areola reduction will fade over time and blend with the natural skin color.

You might have some bruising, swelling, and numbness at the surgical site. These signs and symptoms usually disappear in about 4-6 weeks. Plan on sleeping face-up for a week after the procedure to avoid pressure on the incision. Refrain from sex for a minimum of 1 week after the procedure. Your doctor will provide a surgical bra to wear for a few days. For the next 2 weeks, you should wear a sports bra.

While you can return to normal activities in a couple of days, it his advised that you avoid strenuous activity and lifting anything heavy for 3-4 weeks after areola reduction. You should, however, walk regularly to prevent blood clots.

What happens after areola reduction?

The side effects of the procedure will go away in a few weeks. You may have some lingering numbness or tingling. Don't be surprised if your breasts heal at a different rate. One side may start to feel normal or look aesthetically pleasing before the other. Once the healing process finishes, both breasts and areolas will look and feel similar. Once you are healed, you can enjoy improved self-confidence from the permanent results of your areola reduction plastic surgery.

How long do the results of nipple or areola reduction last? Is areola reduction permanent?

As noted above, the results of a nipple or areola reduction are long-lasting. Remember, over time, the breasts can sag or droop as a consequence of the natural aging process. This can change the shape or size of the nipples and areolas.

What about complications and risks?

Like all surgeries, a nipple or areola reduction procedure carries some risks. These include infection, bleeding, temporary or permanent changes in nipple sensation, and scarring. You can minimize your risk of complications by carefully following your surgeon's instructions.

What are the pros and cons of areola reduction?

The pros of an areola reduction are that it is a quick procedure performed using local anesthesia. It can be combined with other breast procedures. The downtime is minimal and most people go back to work in 1-2 days. The results are long-lasting or permanent.

The cons are that it is a surgical procedure and carries risks such as loss of nipple sensation, scarring, and being unable to breastfeed. The results may not last forever because the areolas can widen and stretch with age, hormonal changes, weight loss or weight gain, etc.

How much does areola reduction surgery cost?

The average cost of areola reduction is $3,000. However, this can vary greatly depending on where you live, the expertise of your provider, and what other procedures you are having. Keep in mind that nipple or areola reduction is an elective cosmetic surgery that is not included in your health insurance coverage.

Finding a surgeon for areola reduction

The MeTime app makes it easy to connect with an experienced board certified plastic surgeon for nipple areola reduction. You can read a review, chat with experts, get answers to all your questions about breast surgery, and learn more about reducing areola size. If you feel self conscious about the size and shape of your areolas, download the MeTime app today and learn more about areola reductions.

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