Many people who undergo breast-related cosmetic surgeries elect to have more than one procedure done at the same time to consolidate costs and reduce recovery time. Among the many procedures that may be combined arebreast reduction, breast lift and areolar reduction. 

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What Is Areola Reduction?

Areola reduction is a type of cosmetic surgery that decreases the size of the areola: the pigmented area that surrounds the nipple. The procedure is considered minor, and the majority of patients who have areola reduction can return home on the same day.

Why Do People Choose to Have Areola Reduction Surgery?

This type of surgery may be sought out by both men and women. In all cases, areola reduction is done with the intention of enhancing the appearance of the breasts. Women may have enlarged areolae as a result of the natural hormones related to developmental changes during adolescence, pregnancy, and lactation. These life events may cause the areolae to get bigger and darker. In addition, some women who have tubular (underdeveloped) breasts may have areolae that are abnormally large and puffy. Some women may experience changes in areolae as a result of weight loss or gain. Men with the condition gynecomastia often have large areolae, contributing to a somewhat female appearance.

What Is Involved in Areolae Reductions?

For both females and males, if the areola reduction is the only surgery being performed, often only local anesthesia or general anesthesia (determined by your physician) is required. The patient and surgeon will determine in advance how much of the circumference of the areola should be reduced. The “extra” pigmented area will be removed; because the areola is really just skin with darker pigmentation, the process only involves removing a thin layer of skin. It is important for the nipple and areola in the nipple’s immediate vicinity not to be detached from the breast tissue, maintaining as much sensation and circulation as possible.  Although a restraining suture may be necessary if the patient wants a large amount removed, most procedures only need small sutures.

If areola reduction is one of multiple surgical procedures, the entire process will be more complicated; possibly requiring general anesthesia, operation at a hospital or surgical center (as opposed to just in your doctor’s office) and a longer recovery time than areola reduction alone.

Can Areola Reduction Be Done Instead Of A Breast Lift?

According to Dr. Joseph Mele, areola reduction does offer a similar effect to a breast lift, but will not produce as dramatic of results. Therefore, areola reduction and breast lift should be considered separate procedures.

If you are interested in areola reduction alone or in conjunction with other breast-enhancement surgeries, ask your doctor if they can provide before-and-after images of their work; which will show their ability as well as give you realistic expectations for post-surgery outcome.