Areola Reduction: Beyond Breast Surgery Basics
Most women care a great deal about what their breasts look like. And while breast implants can help with the size, shape, and position of the breast, they don’t always address every area of concern. Sometimes other surgeries are used to improve the aesthetics of the breast. For example, areola reduction is a procedure that can help to produce the look a woman desires.


A woman’s breasts change over time. The shape and size can change with weight loss and gain, pregnancy, and breastfeeding, and the nipple and areola can change as well.

The areola is the colored area that surrounds the nipple, and doesn’t actually include the nipple itself. As the breasts change, the size, shape, and color of the areola can change too.

Some reasons that the areola looks different during a woman’s lifetime include:

Weight loss.
Weight gain.
Breast lifts.
Breast reduction surgery.
Changes in the breast due to age, such as sagging.

Any one or a combination of these things can lead to a woman becoming unhappy with the size or shape of her areola. She may feel that it’s too large, uneven, or disproportionate to the size of her breasts. Areola reduction surgery becomes an option any time a woman feels displeased with the appearance of her areola.


After one or more consultations with a breast surgeon, a woman will be ready to undergo her areola reduction surgery. The procedure is generally short, taking on average one to two hours. If the patient chooses to have a breast lift with areola reduction, the surgery will take longer.

The patient is prepped for surgery, given anesthesia, and the areola is exposed, cleaned, and prepared. Once the area to be removed is clearly marked, the patient is properly sedated, and the surgical team is ready, the excision begins. The surgeon will follow the marks he or she made on the areola prior to surgery, and will refer to the notes in the patient’s chart from consultations and pre-operative appointments.

The surgeon uses tiny incisions to remove the excess areola tissue, giving the woman the size and shape areola she desires. There are several types of techniques used to remove the tissue, and the surgeon should discuss his or her preferred type with patients before surgery begins. The method used by a particular surgeon may vary depending on the needs of the patient, her anatomy, and other factors specific to her case.

Once the tissue has been removed, very small sutures are placed around the remaining areola, attaching it to the skin of the breast just outside the areola. Generally, absorbable stitches are used, and the stitches are incredibly small in order to prevent scarring. After the sutures are placed, the areola reduction surgery is complete.


As with any surgery, there are risks involved with areola reduction. Some of these risks include:

Reactions or complications with anesthesia.
Infection at the incision site or in other parts of the body.
Loss of sensation in the nipple or areola.
Blood clots.
Asymmetrical results.
Visible scarring.

The risks should be discussed with each patient prior to her areola reduction surgery. Some risks may be more likely, depending on a woman’s overall health, other medical conditions, and the surgery itself. Other risks may be associated with breast lifts performed along with areola reduction, and it’s important to carefully discuss all potential risks with the surgeon prior to the procedure.


It’s difficult to provide an exact areola reduction cost because the figure will vary according to the individual circumstances and whether other surgery is being performed at the same time. Having said that, the cost is likely to be in the range of $1,500 to $3,000.


Woman who are unhappy with their breasts have many choices. Not only can the size and shape of the breast be changed, but the size and shape of the areola can be modified as well. It’s possible to have areola reduction in conjunction with other breast surgeries, such as breast lifts.

If you’re considering having areola reduction, speak to your surgeon to find out if it’s right for you. He or she will be able to help you better understand the procedure and its risks, as well as advise you on the typical, realistic results you can expect.


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