Areola reduction surgery is gaining popularity among women who perceive themselves to have disproportionately large areolae. The areola is the roughly circular shaped skin surrounding the nipple. The areola is the first female breast structure to change during puberty and continues to change throughout a woman’s life. Although there are no physical effects of disproportionate areolae, the emotional effects can leave a woman with a poor body image, self conscious feelings and an overall lack of confidence, especially when naked.
This topical essay discusses the options for surgical reduction available to women with overly large areola structures on one or both breasts.
Areola Reduction Motivations
The areola can appear too large for the breast, due to normal or abnormal development. Many women feature areolae which take up a sizeable portion of the frontal breast surface.
If a woman gives birth, the areola can enlarge and darken. This is especially true if the woman breastfeeds for a significant time frame.
Weight gain can increase breast size, which will also often cause the areola to expand. If the woman loses this weight at some point in the future, she might be left with smaller breasts, but may continue to have enlarged areolae.
If a woman is happy with her appearance, there is no sense in changing the size or appearance of her areolae. However, if she is dissatisfied with the way her breasts appear, then she might be a good candidate for areola surgery to balance out her breast proportions.
The procedure used to reduce the size of the areola is usually a modified mastopexy procedure. In fact, a lift is often integrated into the procedure, since the incisions are very much the same.
This type of procedure is called a Benelli lift, Donut mastopexy, modified mastopexy or periareolar lift. In essence, a symmetrical circle of areola skin is excised and the breast is sutured to produce a smaller areola and a slight lift effect.
Occasionally, the skin is removed at the very base of the nipple rather than the outer circumference of the areola, depending on the particular physical characteristics of the patient.
The Changes Enacted by Areola Reduction
The surgical procedure is rather simple and not too expensive. There are a few inherent risks involved in this procedure, including loss of sensitivity in the areola or nipple, and reduced ability or inability to breastfeed.
Of course, general plastic surgery risks also apply. Results are generally excellent and the incidence of complications is low if the surgeon is careful, experienced and well trained. Make sure to discuss all possible risks with your doctor prior to surgery.
Remember, the only reason for this procedure is to improve the way you see your own body. If your large areolae truly bother you, and your vision of perfect breasts include more proportionate areolae, then you might have found your answer. Talk to your doctor about how areola or nipple surgery can help you to achieve the breasts you have only dreamed about.