Can I decrease my areola size without a breast lift?
I don’t think I need a lift right now. My boobs are nice and full and I’m young without children so they are still perky. However my areolas are really big and ugly. I would like them smaller but I don’t want to undergo a major surgery. What are my options?
Any areola reduction surgery will lift the breasts to a certain degree, even when performed without a mastopexy or breast lift.
When we surgically reduce the size of the areolae we must also reduce the total amount of breast skin enclosing the breast tissue. When the amount of available breast skin changes, the breasts slightly raise naturally.
To answer your question: No, you don’t need to get a traditional breast lift along with your areola reduction surgery. Even though the two surgeries are often performed at the same time, it’s possible to have areola reduction separately and to perform a breast lift at a later date.
During the areola reduction procedure, skin is removed from around the areolae in a donut shape. The outer edges of the "donut" are then brought inwards towards the areola and sutured. This technique gives plastic surgeons excellent control over areola size, as the inner circle of the donut shape can be placed anywhere inside the circumference of large areolae.
After the procedure you'll need to take good care of the sutures to make sure they don't get wider during the healing process. It's important to wear a surgical or good sports bra 24/7 for the first few weeks following surgery.
You'll also need to avoid sex -- and chest contact in particular -- for the first three weeks. You should ask your plastic surgeon when he or she advises resuming an exercise regimen, but it's generally a good idea to avoid strenuous exercise for at least four to six weeks.
Since you’re yet to have children, I advise you to consult with your plastic surgeon about the risks associated with areola reduction. While generally low when performed by an ASPS (or similarly reputable organization) board-certified plastic surgeon, there is always the possibility the surgery could impact your ability to breastfeed later on in life.
Areola reduction surgery is most often performed as part of a mastopexy, but there's no reason it can’t be performed on its own. As expressed in your question, your breasts are not sagging, so it sounds like there's no need for a full breast lift at this time.
Areola reduction surgery involves making a circular incision around the nipple areola complex. During the procedure a donut-shaped piece of skin is removed from the periphery of the areola/nipple area. With this type of incision, surgeons can make a wide or asymmetrical areola into a symmetrical, small areola.
Because the incisions are made along the edges of the areola where the darker skin meets the lighter colored surrounding skin, the scars can be very well concealed. When the procedure is finished, the new, smaller areola is held in place with a permanent suture placed deep inside the breast tissue.
This procedure is common, straightforward, and can be performed under local anesthesia or general anesthesia. If you receive local anesthesia, you'll most likely be able to go home immediately following the surgery. If you receive general anesthesia, your doctor will likely want to observe you for a few hours before letting you go home.
I can't offer you any medical advice without a direct consultation but I suggest you consult with your plastic surgeon about the potential risks involved with the procedure. Because you noted that you are "young and without children", you should be aware that any procedure which removes part of the areola may also disrupt the milk ducts within the breast. While the likelihood of a serious negative result like this is rare, there is always a risk the procedure could interfere with your ability to breastfeed in the future.
Recovery from areola reduction surgery is generally quite fast. It’s common to experience swelling and bruising postoperatively, but most patients are able to return to their normal work schedule within two days. Pain can be managed with over-the-counter pain medication, and you'll need to avoid physical labor or strenuous exercise for the first few weeks after surgery.
Areola reduction surgery is often performed as part of a mastopexy or breast lift procedure, but it can also be done separately.
It’s a fairly common plastic surgery procedure that we can do on either an inpatient or outpatient basis. During the procedure, the surgeon will make a circumareolar incision that - you should know - will leave a hairline scar around the areolae. When performed correctly, however, the scar should be nearly invisible once the healing process is complete.
The surgery can be performed along the border, or via an incision on the inside of the areola, in order to preserve the border. The best option for you would have be determined during a consultation.
Following the surgery you will need to wear micropore tape over your scars. This helps to minimize tension on the incisions, keeping the scars from getting wider as they heal.
Wearing tape also reduces the chances of hypertrophic scars forming. I usually tell my patients to wear the tape for three months following the procedure for best results.
You should also wear a support bra around the clock, even if you have smaller breasts.
Wearing a bra 24/7 will keep your breasts from moving while they heal, and prevent the scars from getting wider and more visible.
You should be aware that there are some risks involved with areola reduction surgery, among them the chance you will experience decreased nipple stimulation and sensation. As with any breast surgery or augmentation, there is always the chance of asymmetry.
As you said, you have not yet had children and it sounds like you are planning to one day. While it's not completely necessary to wait until you’ve completed your family, you should keep in mind that the procedure does carry the risk of disrupting milk ducts, which can make breastfeeding difficult or even impossible. While the chances of such complications are low in the hands of an experienced cosmetic surgeon, you should still be aware of the risks before making any decisions.
As such, always remember to only consult with board-certified plastic surgeons, both for best results and practices.
Dr. Frederic Corbin has 1 Breast lift before & after: