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Although there are many breast operations we offer, two that are not discussed as often are nipple reduction surgery and areola reduction surgery. We see many patients for these procedures, who have spent years being self-conscious about their appearance. Below are the questions we’re often asked about nipple and areola reduction procedures, and please contact us if there are any other questions we can answer for you.

Why would someone have nipple or areola reduction surgery?

Sometimes people have nipples or areolas they considered too big. Other times, people are self-conscious because of nipples that lack symmetry. In either case, cosmetic procedures are available that will allow you to feel more comfortable and confident with your body. If you are self-conscious about changing in front of people, or hold back from intimate relationships because you’re worried about the appearance of your nipples or areolas, these procedures may be good options for you.

What is nipple/areola reduction?

A nipple reduction is done with a fairly light level of anesthesia, and involves the surgeon removing some tissue from inside the nipple. This allows for a smaller nipple size, with minimal amount of scarring. The procedure itself usually takes about 30 minutes. If the surgeon does a nipple reduction procedure, and they do not have much experience, there can be negative side effects like scar tissue. Fixing a nipple reduction surgery that was done incorrectly is more complicated than doing it correctly in the first place. That’s why it is so important to work with a surgeon who has substantial experience in this area.


Do men have nipple reduction surgery?

Yes, men do have a nipple reduction surgery either because both their nipples are bigger than they would like, or because their nipples are asymmetric. Some of the male models you see in magazines or online who appear to have “perfect bodies” have had nipple reduction surgery. Male nipple reduction surgery is a fairly simple procedure, that can be done with a light level of anesthesia. Patients are generally home a few hours after the procedure, and return to their activities after a few days of healing.

Is nipple reduction a complex surgery?

While all surgical procedures have the level of complexity, nipple reduction surgery is not usually a particularly complicated operation. That said, it is very important to have nipple or areola reduction surgery with a well experienced plastic surgeon. If a surgeon is not experienced with this type of procedure, you can end up with misshapen, painful results that require a more complex operation to correct.

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How is areola reduction surgery performed?

In most cases, areola reduction surgery is a type of breast lift. That’s because much of the time that someone feels their areolas are too large, there is sagging involved and we can reduce the size of the areola by managing sagging. In the case of a tubular breast deformity, the large areolas are not because of sagging, but usually because a herniation. Tuberous breast correction surgery is performed in a different way, and you can find more details about that here.


At what age can nipple reduction or areola reduction surgery be performed?

We generally recommend that patients wait until they’re at least 18 years old before they consider nipple reduction surgery or areola reduction surgery. Before this age, the bodies of both the women and men are still changing, and it is important that you are done growing before we make surgical alterations to your body. If these procedures are done in someone too young, additional growth or development may reduce the effectiveness of the operation.

How is male nipple reduction surgery different from gynecomastia surgery?

A gynecomastia procedure reduces the size of male breasts, as opposed to just reducing the size of the nipples. When a man has some protrusion of the breasts, typically caused by hormones, a reduction operation is generally the best choice. A gynecomastia procedure and a nipple reduction procedure can be done at the same time, if this is the best option for the patient. If you are not sure which procedure is better for your personal goals, please schedule a consultation with us.

What will recovery be like after surgical nipple reduction?

After your nipple reduction procedure, you’ll be going home within hours. Generally we use stitches that dissolve so you will not need to have stitches removed at the office. We will ask you to take it easy for a few days, but after that you will be able to return to your normal activities quickly. It is recommended that you avoid strenuous activity for at least several days after the surgical procedure.


Can nipple/areola reduction surgery be combined with another breast procedure?

Yes, in some cases it makes sense to combine either areola reduction or nipple reduction, with another breast procedure like a breast lift for a breast reduction - which reduces the overall size of the breast. The best way to decide which procedures make sense for your body shape and goals, is coming for a consultation. Everybody is different, and because our surgeons are experts in breast procedures, they can help you truly understand what your best surgical options are, and what type of results you can expect.

What happens if I get pregnant after areola reduction surgery?

We highly recommend that you wait until after you’re done having children to have areola reduction surgery. When you’re pregnant, your breasts can grow substantially in size, and your areolas as well. If this happens after areola reduction surgery, your results are unlikely to look the same after your pregnancy. Additionally, your scars from the areola reduction procedure may become more visible because of the weight you gain in your breasts during pregnancy. Breast feeding can affect your results also. If you are a woman or a man who is interested in having nipple reduction or areola reduction surgery, please get in touch with us. If the size of your nipples or areolas, or a lack of symmetry, is causing you to be self-conscious, there are ways we can help you.

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Practice Policy Update Regarding COVID-19 Your safety is our top priority.

To our valued patients,

I hope that you and your families have stayed healthy and well during this difficult time. We want to thank all of the essential workers that provided us with critical services during this period and also to all of you that remained at home preventing the further spread of the virus.

As we re-open our facilities our priority remains the safety and well being of our patients and staff. To that end, we have implemented a number of important safety measures at all of our facilities.

  1. All patients, staff, and caregivers will be screened via a questionnaire and temperature for Covid-19 symptoms at the front entrance.
  2. Only those individuals that pass the screening will be allowed into the facility.
  3. Patients can only bring 1 other person with them to the appointment.
  4. All patients (and caregivers) need to wear a mask while in the facility. Please bring a cloth or other mask with you to the appointment.
  5. Physical distancing will be in effect in the office waiting room and throughout the office.
  6. Once the physical distance capacity has been reached in the waiting room, patients will be asked to wait in their vehicles and will be called to come in at their appointment time.
  7. All surfaces in the office will be cleaned and disinfected at least on an hourly basis.
  8. All patient rooms will be cleaned and disinfected after each patient use.
  9. Caregivers waiting for patients after surgery will be asked to not wait in the facility.
  10. All staff will be wearing PPE in accordance with CDC guidelines.

We understand that these continue to be uncertain and difficult times however we remain committed to your health, well being, safety, and ensuring you the best outcome possible.

All Athenix locations are now open. However, as we continue to practice physical distancing, we are still available for virtual consultations at any of our locations. You can reach us by calling 888-276-1535 or email [email protected] to get scheduled.

We thank you for your continued support and trust in Athenix and look forward to seeing you soon.


Gavin M. Dry, M.D. Chief Medical Officer