Dear Dr. Man, I have an embarrassing problem. Ever since I had my baby and breastfed her, my areolas are extremely large. My nipples are also pretty large and they look like they’re sagging. I feel very self-conscious. I was a 36D chest before I had the baby and I am now a 36DD. I don’t mind the larger breast size, but I really am uncomfortable with the size of my areolas and nipples. Is there surgery to correct this? If so, can you tell me more about it?
Usually when people think of enhancing the breasts, they think about breast lifts, breast reductions and breast enlargements. However, for some people, concerns are much more localized; specifically, they are unhappy with their areolas and/or nipples. The nipple is the projected part and the areola is the dark pigmented skin that surrounds the nipple. Luckily, there is surgery available to correct these concerns.
First and foremost, do not feel embarrassed. It is actually quite common to develop enlarged areolas after breastfeeding, especially in large breasted women. Some large breasted women even develop large areolas without breastfeeding. If the size of the areola is disproportionately large for the breast, it can give the breast an older, aging appearance, making surgery desirable.
Some men who develop enlarged breast tissue (also known as gynecomastia) can also have large areolas. Often men who have large areolas seek surgery to reduce the size of their areolas, since larger areolas are considered a feminine feature.
Areola reduction is standard during breast reduction and breast lift surgery to reduce the size of the areolas to make them match the size of the new breasts and to give the breasts a more youthful appearance. Areola reduction can also be performed as a standalone procedure.
There is another procedure called nipple reduction that can either be performed as a separate procedure or in combination with other breast surgery. Many women develop large, projecting nipples that, in some cases, can droop, especially after breastfeeding. During surgery, the nipple is telescoped back into the breast, providing a more youthful and balanced appearance.
Nipple and areola surgery can do wonders for self-esteem and body image. Surgery usually takes 1-2 hours and the patient can return to normal activities within a day or two. Sensitivity is usually maintained and all steps are taken to maintain the patient's ability to breastfeed.
I recommend visiting a board-certified plastic surgeon to see if these surgeries are right for you. Good luck.
Dr. Daniel Man is a board-certified plastic surgeon who has dedicated his life’s work to helping people look younger and improve their appearance through cosmetic surgery. He is a noted author, artist, inventor and educator. Dr. Man has been featured on major television networks, as well as national and local magazines and newspapers for his work as both a plastic surgeon and an artist. He has a successful private practice in Boca Raton, FL. For more information about Dr. Man, visit www.drman.com.