Is there a way to make my nipples smaller?

My nipples are massive. I would say that 75% of my breasts are consumed by my nipples. What are the best and most affordable ways to make these things smaller? I do not want to get involved with a very invasive option and I do not have too much money. I hope there are some options for me?


F, 31, Pennsylvania

Tags:woman age 25-34 nipples nipples too large

Unfortunately there is no way to reduce the size of your nipples without surgery. You may have searched online and seen a number of creams or injectables that claim to mimic a reduction procedure in outcome, but they don't work. Plastic surgery is really the only viable option for nipple or areola reduction. Although the price of these non-invasive products are far less expensive than surgery, they won't reverse large nipples on the body (male or female).

The best way to start is by finding a board-certified plastic surgeon in your area that has extensive experience in nipple or areola reduction surgery. Start your research and make sure that you consult with a few before committing to the procedure and the surgeon. The nipple or areola reduction procedure may not be as invasive as you think, however, it is still surgery. For areola reduction, tiny incisions are made around the perimeter of the areola to reduce it in size and then gathered or tied to the remaining breast skin. Sometimes nipple or areola reduction procedures are coupled with other breast procedures to give the entire breast a fresh look. If you go that route (coupling a nipple reduction procedure with a breast lift) you could be looking at paying around $5,000 or more. Alone, a nipple or areola reduction procedure could cost around $1,500 to $3,000, give or take.

Again, please consult with several plastic surgeons about the options available to you and to determine if you’re a good candidate for a nipple reduction, areola reduction, or a combination of the two. Each has its own pluses and minuses, side effects, price tag, and timetable for the healing process.

It's difficult to determine your issue without an in-person exam or photos, but let's try to discuss your options. First, I believe you're referring to the area known as the areola versus the nipple itself. The areola is the pigmented area on your breast around the nipple. Though your question states that 75% of your breasts consist of nipple, I'm going to assume you’re referring more to the areola than the nipple itself. Many patients and doctors use the term areola reduction surgery and nipple reduction/nipple reduction surgery interchangeably, so you can do your research on both.

Increases to the size of the areola are sometimes the result of weight gain and aging. For women, nipples and areola can become larger and darker in color after childbirth and if they breastfeed. Some return to their pre-childbirth appearance, others don't.

You should start doing some research to locate board-certified plastic surgeons (certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery -- ABPS) that specialize in this type of reduction surgery. We do see a number of patients that say their nipples/areola are disproportionate to the size of their breasts.

There are some surgical procedures that can help. Some patients look to combine areola reductions with other cosmetic procedures, such as a breast lift, breast implant, breast reduction, etc. Nipple reduction surgery generally involves the removal of tissue from the nipples followed by a reshaping of the nipple. Areola reduction is similar. An incision is made around the edge of the areola to remove excess tissue. The skin is gathered and held together by stitches that will dissolve over time. There may be some scarring around the area where the incisions were made. Some scars will fade over time, some won't. The procedure is usually done in a surgical center or the surgeon’s office under local anesthesia with IV sedation or, in some cases, general anesthesia.

Costs for cosmetic surgery vary by location. The total cost can run anywhere from $1,000 to $2,500 or more this procedure.

Depending on your anatomy, areolar reduction may be done and result in a significantly more aesthetic appearance, but there may be a requirement for incisions around the areola AND in a vertical orientation (lollipop lift incision). The reason for this is that when you try to reduce too large a circle by cutting out the excess donut on the outside and sewing the outer circle to a smaller inner one, there is tension around the circle that may tend to stretch the areola back out and/or widen the scar tissue. One way to redistribute the tension is to include a vertical incision. 

-- Dr. Sayed

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