Nipple and areola reconstruction can provide a boost in self-confidence to patients who have inverted or stretched nipples or who lack one or both nipples due to mastectomy (surgical removal of the breast), injury or a congenital defect. It is often the final step in breast reconstruction surgery, where the nipple is created after the breast mound has settled into place so that the new nipple matches the appearance and position of the natural one as closely as possible. Nipple reconstruction may be performed using one of several techniques, including tissue and cartilage flaps, skin grafts and tattooing.
Many men and women are embarrassed or bothered by the larger size of their nipples. Patients may be born with larger nipples, or they may develop after breastfeeding. Whatever the cause may be, larger nipples can be reduced through a simple surgical procedure that offers immediate results and minimal risks, eliminating patients’ worries about nipple size and shape.
Nipple reduction is commonly performed during a breast reduction procedure, so that the size of the nipple will match the new size and shape of the breast. Larger nipples often create a matronly or older appearance, although it commonly occurs after breastfeeding or in naturally large breasts. A reduced nipple size can help create an overall youthful appearance to the breast, and helps maximize the aesthetic results of a breast reduction or breast lift procedure.
It is important for patients to realize that the nipple and the areola are not the same thing. The nipple is the projected part of the breast, while the areola is the darker pigmented skin that surrounds the nipple. Many patients undergoing nipple reduction may also seek areola reduction in order to achieve their desired results.
The ideal candidates for nipple reduction are patients who are in good general health and have large or droopy nipples, and who are unhappy or embarrassed by the size of their nipples. Since breastfeeding can often affect the appearance of the nipple, women are encouraged to wait until they are done breastfeeding before undergoing this procedure, so that the risk of negative changes after surgery is greatly reduced. Many women choose to combine the nipple reduction procedure with a breast lift or breast augmentation after pregnancy to restore a more youthful appearance to their breasts.
In order to achieve successful results from this procedure, patients must have realistic expectations for their procedure, and must understand that plastic surgery cannot change who they are. Many patients do experience an increase in self-confidence after surgery, but it is important that the decision is made for your own personal reasons.
The nipple reduction procedure can be performed during another breast surgery, or as a separate procedure. When performed separately, this procedure is done on an outpatient basis under local anesthesia. The entire procedure takes 30 to 60 minutes to perform, depending on the individual patient. When performed with more intense procedures, such as breast lift, reduction or augmentation, the procedure is performed under general anesthesia and usually requires a short hospital stay.
The incisions for this procedure are placed inconspicuously on the nipple. Once the incisions are made, excess tissue is removed from the nipple and the area is sutured closed. The nipple can be reduced in length and width, depending on each patient’s individual surgery plan.
After the nipple reduction procedure, patients often experience mild swelling and discomfort for a few days. These side effects can be managed with pain medication from your doctor. Some bruising is also common for several days after the procedure.
Patients are encouraged to get up and walk around on the same day as their procedure, and can return to work and other regular activities as soon as they feel comfortable. Strenuous exercise and sexual activity should be avoided for a few weeks. Patients should also avoid exposing their scars to direct sunlight for six months, as sunlight can affect pigmentation and may cause scars to appear darker.
The results of the nipple reduction procedure are visible immediately and are permanent for most patients. Most patients maintain nipple sensation after this procedure, and women are still able to breastfeed if they desire.
Although this procedure is considered safe for most patients, there are certain risks involved, including infection, scarring and loss of nipple sensation. These risks are considered rare. Patients can further reduce these risks by choosing an experienced surgeon to perform their procedure, and by following their surgeon’s directions for before and after surgery.
Contact The Plastic Surgery Group to learn more about nipple reduction and reconstruction surgery in New Jersey and NYC. We proudly serve patients from our Livingston, Montclair and New York City office locations.
For additional information on Nipple Reconstruction and Reduction, visit: www.plasticsurgery.org