Areola Reduction

The average width of a female areola is around 4.7cm, but many women (and men) have areolas that are much larger than this and as a result may choose to undergo areola reduction surgery. In addition, patients may choose areola correction surgery if their areolas are, enlarged, domed, non-circular, otherwise abnormal in colour or appearance.

What Is Areola Reduction Surgery?

The areola is the darker, brown or dark pink, circle of skin surrounding the nipple, which should be central to the breast. Areola reduction surgery, or nipple reduction surgery, is done for several different reasons. It is not, on its own, usually eligible for NHS treatment.

Both women and men can consider areola reduction surgery, usually with the idea of improving self-confidence and self-esteem. Given that it is a relatively quick and simple breast surgery, many now consider it the answer to the self-doubt they feel due to the size and shape of their areola. It is frequently performed along with other breast surgery, such as a breast lift.

Some of the common reasons for areola reduction or nipple correction surgery include:

  • Large, wide, highly noticeable areolas: typically women are happy with an areola of less than 5cm across. If your areola is considerably wider than this then you may feel self-conscious. Furthermore, the areolas need to look in proportion to the overall size of your breasts
  • Raised or swollen looking areolas: Over time, and sometimes right from puberty, some individuals experience areolas that look swollen, or ‘puffy’. Sometimes there is an underlying reason for this such as tubular breast abnormality, but whatever the reason, it can leave you feeling self-conscious and different from other women
  • Irregular Areolas: Typically, the areola resembles a perfect circle. Over time this can become elongated in to an oval shape, or sometimes not look uniform. Areola reduction will correct the shape
  • Irregularities on the Areola: The areola areas tend to change over time, especially following pregnancy and breastfeeding. The colour and feel may change, as well as the arrival of tiny bumps due to small glands. These can be corrected by areola reduction giving you renewed confidence in your breasts

The benefits of Areola Reduction:

  • Decrease in the overall size of the areola
  • Scarring along the areola edge means it blends with the breast
  • Can often be performed under local anaesthetic
  • Entails a swift recovery process compared to other breast surgeries
  • Tightens and elevates the nipple giving the breast a more pert appearance
  • Increased confidence in your body image

How Much Does Areola Reduction Cost?

areola reduction

When considering the cost of areola reduction you need to contemplate all of your options. It is quite usual for areola reduction to be included with other breast surgery, such as breast lift, enlargement, or reduction. In these instances, the cost of the areola reduction will be included in the overall cost of your breast surgery, and be more economical, compared to having the procedures done separately.

However, some women do choose to simply have the areola reduction surgery alone, believing this is sufficient to boost their self-esteem and give them a renewed confidence in their body image. For an areola reduction alone you are looking at it costing in the region of £1,990-£3,500. Factors affecting the cost will include: your chosen clinic; the type of anaesthetic used; and the surgeon chosen.

It is possible to pay for your areola reduction surgery outright, or alternatively you may prefer to pay for it gradually over time. In these instances, many clinics arrange finance options whereby you can pay a deposit (usually at least equal to 10% of the surgery cost) and then monthly payments thereafter. Typically you can choose to pay over 12, 24, 36, 48 or 60 months. The amount of interest you pay will depend on how long you spread the payments over. Here is a price and finance guide from the UK's leading clinics:

Clinic Price guide Deposit APR Installments
Transform £2,700 £500 0% 12 months
Aurora £2,660 £266 14.9% 12-60 months
Nu Cosmetics £1,990 £500 0% 12 months

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Recovering from Nipple Correction Surgery

Areola reduction surgery, or nipple correction surgery, has one of the fastest recovery times for breast surgery. You can expect your recovery to last no longer than a fortnight with excellent self-care and no complications. The clinic you choose to perform the surgery will take you through the recovery process and aftercare advice, but it can be helpful to have some idea of what to expect.

It is usual to have tenderness, and some swelling, at the wound sites. Therefore the primary aim of recovery is to support the breasts and ensure they have the best chance of recovery. This will involve wearing a well-fitting sports bra that is both soft and offers support. This should be worn day and night. You shouldn’t do any sport or heavy lifting until told to do so by your surgeon, but as and when you do, you should continue to wear the sports bra for support. In addition, take regular painkillers as advised by your clinic.

You may also be advised to avoid sex and sexual arousal, for around a week following surgery to prevent swelling of the breast tissue, whilst it is still recovering. Similarly, you may find that the first period you have following the areola reduction causes more breast tenderness and swelling than you usually experience.

Depending on the type of work you do, you may find you need to take a few weeks off to ensure you don’t overdo it. Your surgeon will discuss this with you in the context of your personal circumstances.

Over the initial six months following the surgery, the areola and nipples will continue to change. Scarring will gradually fade from red to pink, to an almost seamless blend with the main structure of the breast.

Potential Risks and Complications

Compared to other surgeries, and owing to the fact that areola reduction alone can usually be done under local anaesthetic, risks from this procedure are minimal.

The risks associated with nipple correction surgery are minimal, with good care. The most notable risk is of infection at the wound site. If you experience an increase in tenderness, hotness, discharge or elevated discomfort at the wound site, or nearby, then contact either your clinic or GP for advice. Additionally, a temperature may be a sign of infection. In these instances, a short course of anti-biotics will usually suffice. Furthermore, and even without infection present, there may be some fluid leakage from the wound site in the early days of recovery.

If your areola reduction is performed under general anaesthetic, or as part of a more complex surgery requiring general anaesthetic, then there are other associated, but low chance risks. The most notable of these risks is that of a blood clot which can cause serious complications. You should follow your surgeon’s advice to reduce the risk of clots.

The nipple area is an extremely sensitive part of the breast with a myriad of nerves. It is not unusual to experience reduced or altered nipple sensation following areola reduction procedures. Usually the sensation returns following healing, but this is not always the case.

Lastly, some women experience a change to the colour, or the pigmentation of the areola, following nipple correction surgery. This is extremely rare.

Breastfeeding and Areola Reduction Surgery

For areola reduction alone, your ability to breastfeed may be reduced, but this is highly unlikely. Most women who have nipple reduction discover that breastfeeding is possible. Compared to most breast surgeries, areola reduction is the least likely to impact on future breastfeeding ability as it's usually performed without cutting the milk ducts.However, if you have concerns regarding your ability to breastfeed you may choose to wait until you have finished breastfeeding all potential children or speak to your surgeon for reassurance.

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