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Nipple Reduction

Nipple reduction is a surgical procedure that reduces either the size of the nipples or the size of the areola, which is the dark area surrounding the nipples. A nipple or areola that is protrusive and larger than normal can be visible under tight or revealing clothing, especially when wearing swimwear or thin tops. This can often cause public embarrassment and can even make women very self-conscious of their breasts. 

Enlarged nipples and areolas are congenital conditions that occur during development. Your nipples may also enlarge dramatically after extended periods of breastfeeding. The average areola size is 4.5cm and professional treatment may be sought if yours is significantly greater than average. The nipple and areola reduction operations are popular with those who seek a permanent solution to their large nipple or areola size.

The simple but delicate operation of nipple reduction is performed as an outpatient procedure and takes about an hour to complete. After placing the patient under general or local anaesthetics, a surgeon makes small wedge-shaped incisions onto the nipple to remove excess tissue and shape it into the desired size. Nipple sensation can be preserved, and breastfeeding ability will generally be unaffected because the operation does not tamper with the milk ducts.

Areola reduction can be done using purse string stitches, which are stitches that run in and out parallel to the edge of your areola. When pulled tight, these stitches decrease the circumference and overall area of the areola, much like real purse strings. Permanent instead of melt away or absorbable purse string stitches are used to hold the reduced areola in place.

The recovery process for nipple reduction is usually very quick but varies between patients. After the operation, you may experience nausea if a general anaesthetic is used. Mild discomfort, usually from the nipple brushing your clothing or bra, is a commonly reported side effect. This discomfort may involve soreness around the nipple or a general feeling of tiredness. There also may be slight bruising and some swelling around the affected area. All of these minor side effects are completely normal and will naturally subside after a couple of days or, if you prefer, can be alleviated with prescription medication. You will be provided with a comfortable dressing for the affected area that will be removed after 2 weeks; at this time, the wound will be gently cleaned and examined to make sure you are recovering well. It is important to keep the dressing dry. After the surgery, you will see firm, pink scars for at least 6 weeks and can remain that size for a few months. These scars are nearly invisible once they are completely closed and healed. 

Nipple reduction produces permanent results, so there is no need to worry about having to undergo the same procedure multiple times after recurrence. After undergoing an areola reduction, there is a chance that the areola will pull through the purse strings and slightly expand, but the degree to which this occurs varies with each individual. 

Most patients are able to return to work after several days. Try to keep with walking and other light activities for the few days after your surgery, and it is best to stay clear of any strenuous activities for 7 to 10 days. If your work involves much physical activity, we suggest that you wait longer before resuming work. On average, it takes around 1 to 2 weeks to recover from surgical nipple reduction and serious complications are extremely rare.

Despite the fact that in virtually every case, patients feel extremely satisfied with the results of the nipple reduction procedure, cosmetic surgery will not automatically make you feel better about yourself. There is no doubt that it will help many people with nipple and areola abnormalities improve their self-image and increase confidence levels, but it will by no means solve all your fundamental psychological and emotional issues. We urge you to keep your expectations realistic and our team ensures that you will be very satisfied with this operation and its results.

That said, in addition to reporting a quick physical recovery, our patients experience almost an immediate psychological change. Instead of wearing loose-fitting clothing to hide an extremely protrusive nipple or being afraid to wear revealing or thin tops in fear of uncovering an excessively large areola, patients report amazing results and increased confidence without fear of awkward public moments related to nipple and areola abnormalities. 

After the procedure is finished, we will arrange follow-up visits with your surgeon or a member of our nursing staff after your operation in order to expedite the recovery process and to make sure the affected area is healing properly.