A lot of attention is given to breast procedures such as breast reduction, and breast lifts within the medical community that many women aren’t even aware that problems isolated to just the nipples and the areolas can also be addressed. Most patients who seek correction in these areas do so because they are unhappy with the current appearance. Common areola problems include disproportionately large ones or those that protrude with a “puffy” appearance. For the nipple, some commons problems include ones that are inverted, asymmetric or enlarged.
Are You a Good Candidate?
Good candidates for this procedure are adults in good overall health who wish to change the size, proportions, or appearance of their nipple and/or areola.
In most women, the desire for surgery on the nipples or areola begins with a yearning for a ‘perfect’ or more beautiful appearance. While there is no such thing as the perfect areola, perfection in this case being purely subjective, many women tend to feel that their areolas are a little too big or “puffy.” Others have inverted nipples due to a number of causes. And then there are all sorts of other self-conscious thoughts that women have about various nipples and areola appearances, such as long nipples or areolas that are irregularly shaped rather than round.
Inverted, or inward pointing nipples are a lot more common than you might think. At least one in 50 women might exhibit this condition, and can experience it on either or both sides. Some of the most common causes of inverted nipples include: extremely short milk ducts, a narrow nipple base, or scarred milk ducts (resulting from an infection of the milk ducts, for example). The degrees of nipple inversion vary in terms of their severity. While many women with inverted nipples feel self-conscious about them, others experience medical issues, such as difficulty breastfeeding.
Nipple & Areola Procedure
The inverted nipple procedure begins with the introduction of a small incision usually placed near the base of the nipple. To reverse inverted nipples, the surgeon gently spreads apart the fibers which are responsible for pulling the nipple inward. Once the nipple has been freed and is facing outward, and the fibers have been spread apart, the surgeon then stitches up the incision.
Reduction of the areola is achieved through the removal of some of the pigmented areas. This is done either through an incision around the areola or at the base of the nipple. If your nipples are too long, they will either droop downward or they might project outward too far. In order to reduce the length, the tip would be removed and closed up using sutures. On the other hand, if the nipples are too wide, a pie-shaped wedge would be removed from underneath the surface of the nipple. The nipple will be “taken in” to reduce its circumference. As far as other cosmetic treatments are concerned, these can be addressed for the mast part through a simple outpatient surgery involving the trimming away of excess tissue in the region. The surgeon will sculpt the areola and the nipple to the size, shape, and orientation that you desire.
Complications & Risks
All medical procedures come with some degree of risk. While the vast majority of patients who undergo these procedures never experience any complications either during or after the surgery, it is still a good idea to consult with your surgeon regarding any potential complications. Among the complications that might arise include: failing to achieve the desired aesthetic outcome of the surgery, bleeding, infection, nerve damage leading to either temporary or permanent numbness or loss of sensation, or scars. While the ability to breastfeed is usually preserved after the surgery, there is always the slight possibility that surgical complications could lead to difficulties.
The recovery period from this type of surgery is relatively brief. The amount of time needed to recover varies from patient to patient, but most are able to resume their normal lives and return back to work within a couple of days. In the first few days after surgery you may feel some discomfort, but this can be easily mitigated through the use of pain relievers. In some cases, your surgeon may advise that you abstain from any sexual activity or from any high-intensity exercises for a few weeks.
Cost of Surgery
Depending on the complexity of the procedures, areola and nipple surgery can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000. Ask your doctor about financing options if you are unable to pay the upfront cost.