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What is Nipple Reduction surgery?

Nipple Reduction (or 'Correction') surgery is a simple cosmetic procedures that aims to reduce the size and change the shape of one or both of your nipples or areola.

Nipple Reduction can reduce the height and width of the nipple, reshape the nipple into a desirable form and treat size and shape asymmetries in the surrounding areola. All surgeries are able to preserve sensation, and aim to restore a more balanced, pleasing chest appearance.

Nipple Reduction can be carried out on its own under local anaesthesia or in combination with other procedures under general anaesthesia, such as breast reduction, breast lift, breast augmentation or mummy makeovers.

During your initial consultation with one of our skilled surgeons, you will be able to communicate your aesthetic concerns and go over the different surgical options available to you.

Whatever your requirements, the Cadogan Clinic can provide the leading experts and techniques for your treatment at our state-of-the-art facility in order to achieve your desired aesthetic and a better-proportioned nipple.

What are the benefits of Nipple Reduction surgery?

The benefits of nipple reduction surgery are both cosmetic and psychological, and include:

  • Quick, highly effective 45 minute surgery 
  • Permanently reduce enlarged nipples or areola
  • Recontour irregularly shaped nipples (inverted or protruding)
  • Restore proportionate nipple or areola dimensions
  • Reduce self-consciousness when wearing tight fitting clothes / swimwear
  • Improved sense of emotional wellbeing

Before & After

Nipple Reduction Results

Click here to view our gallery of Before & Afters and Nipple Reduction results

At a glance 

  • Surgery Time: 45 minutes – 1 hour 
  • Hospital Stay: 1 to 2 hours
  • Time Off Work: a few days (if needed)
  • Reasonably Mobile: Immediately
  • Washing: Shower after 1 day 
  • Driving: a few days
  • Exercise Including Gym: 2 - 4 weeks
  • Sexual Activity: a few days
  • Full Recovery: 1 week
  • Sleeping Position: Sleeping on back recommended for 1 week

Who is suitable for Nipple Reduction surgery?

Nipple Reduction is a highly personal procedure and should only be undertaken if you feel strongly that you would benefit from the resizing or reshaping properties of nipple reduction surgery.

You may be a suitable candidate for nipple reduction surgery if:

  • You are in good psychological and physical medical health
  • You are at your ideal body weight
  • You have a positive outlook and realistic expectations of what can be achieved via surgery
  • You are seeking to reduce the size of your nipples or areola
  • You are seeking to reshape your nipples or areola
  • You are seeking to restore proportion to your chest area 
  • You are looking for an effective solution, able to deliver long lasting results

Scar Management

Your surgeon will explain the procedure to you and show you where to expect scarring. We offer an exceptional Scar Management Programme, our approach being to manage scars before they become a problem, so you can enjoy your results without the worry of major scarring in the future.

What are the side effects and risks

Nipple reduction is a safe procedure, but it is common after nipple surgery to experience:

  • bruising and swelling
  • temporary numbness or soreness
  • a small amount of scarring 

As with all surgical procedures, nipple reduction carries some risk and it is possible that you might experience:

  • Nausea 
  • Bleeding or Infection 
  • Poor healing of incisions and scarring
  • Dissatisfaction with aesthetic outcome
  • Asymmetry 

Your surgeon will discuss these risks comprehensively at your consultation and explain how likely these risks and complications are, and how they would be treated.

What to expect

CONSULTATION

The first step for all of our nipple reduction patients is to meet with the surgeon we feel is best placed to perform your procedure for a consultation. At the consultation you will be able to discuss with your surgeon what your hope to achieve from the procedure, as well as discuss in detail what may or may not be possible given your existing anatomy.

Your surgeon will take you through the options available to you, and which is the most preferential for you given your stated ambitions. Having established this, several key measurements will be made and standard clinical photography will be taken.

Some questions you might like to ask include:

  • Am I a good candidate for this procedure?
  • What will be expected of me to get the best results?
  • What surgical technique is recommended for me?
  • How long of a recovery period can I expect, and what kind of help will I need during my recovery?
  • What are my options if I am dissatisfied with the outcome?
  • Do you have before-and-after photos I can look at for this procedure?

Finally a comprehensive discussion regarding risks and complications will take place, alongside a discussion regarding what to expect in the post procedure and recovery phase. Your previous medical history will also be recorded (including previous surgery, medications, allergies etc.) and an assessment of your fitness for surgery.

If your surgeon feels you are a good candidate for surgery, you are then invited to consider whether you would like to proceed for surgery or otherwise following a two week 'cooling off' period.

Within this period you are welcome to come in and discuss your potential surgery with your surgeon as many times as you like.

PRE – PROCEDURE

If you choose to proceed with surgery, the next time you come into the Clinic after your final consultation will be the day of your procedure. Before admission the following behavioural changes are recommended / required:

  • In the 6 weeks before your procedure we recommend smoking is discontinued as patients who smoke have a higher risk of healing more slowly and complications (see FAQs)
  • In the week before your procedure you must cease taking Aspirin or any medication that contains Aspirin
  • In the 6 hours prior to surgery you must not consume food or any drink, other than small sips of clear fluid (e.g. still water, black coffee, black tea) which are allowed up to 2 hours before admission

DAY OF THE PROCEDURE

On the day of your procedure we ask that you arrive for your admission an hour before the agreed start time of surgery. At this point a nurse will come and record blood pressure and other relevant vitals, you will meet with your anaesthetist and your surgeon who will make the final mark-ups.

The procedure itself takes place under local anaesthetic over the course of roughly an hour. Incisions and techniques will vary according to the precise technique employed. For full discussion of the variety of incision placements and surgical techniques, see our FAQ section below.

POST PROCEDURE & RECOVERY

You should not feel any pain during the procedure, but you may have some for a few days or weeks afterwards. You'll be given painkillers if you need them.

Following the procedure, you will recover in our ambulatory recovery rooms for between two to three hours, dependent on the scale of the procedure. Once our specialist nursing team are happy that your initial recovery is complete and you are safe to return home, you will be allowed to leave the Clinic accompanied by a friend or member of your family.

Once home you will have access to our dedicated on-call nursing team 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This team of specialists are dedicated to your comfort and pain control, and are there to field any questions you may have in the immediate post operative phase.

We ask that you come in and see our nursing team 1 week after surgery to ensure your incision sites have been properly reviewed. At this juncture we also recommend you meet with one of our on site aestheticians to discuss ongoing treatment to support the healing and scarring process.
We ask that you come in to see your surgeon after 6 - 8 weeks for a final check up.

What can I expect from my surgery?

Why come to the Cadogan Clinic

  • Leading cosmetic breast surgery unit in the country, with a team of 6 renowned breast specialists 
  • Strong heritage of corrective and reconstructive work on behalf of other Clinics
  • Day case surgery, go home the same day 
  • Low infection risk, standalone specialist cosmetic unit 
  • Dedicated 24 / 7 nursing aftercare team to assist recovery  

Frequently Asked Questions

There are three main nipple and areola conditions treated by nipple surgery:

+ Nipple Reduction is carried out to reduce the height and width of the nipple whilst preserving its sensation a can be very effective at relieving embarrassment associated with this condition. It can be carried out under local anaesthetic as treatment as well as recovery is quick and straightforward.

+ Areola Reduction is a swift and straightforward procedure that removes the excess brown area from around the nipple. Small reductions leave an inconspicuous scar around the base of the nipple. Larger reductions can leave a scar around the outside edge of the areola – both techniques can be carried out under local anaesthesia.

+ Nipple Inversion is when the nipple itself lies flat or inverts inwards towards the body rather than protruding in the normal way. This condition can occur from birth but in some cases, can develop later on in life. This is typically another swift and straightforward procedure that can be carried out under a local anaesthetic although different grades of inverted nipples require different complexities of surgery.

Each of these surgical procedures is straightforward and can either be carried out on their own under a local anaesthetic or as part of a more complex breast procedure.

There surgical techniques associated with the various nipple conditions vary slightly from one another:

+ Nipple Reduction – the most popular involves elimination of a strip of skin about the neck of the nipple which is closed and sutured reducing the height of the nipple by pushing a portion of the nipple back into the breast tissue. This is a very straightforward procedure and is often performed under local anaesthetic.

+ Areola Reduction - Areola reduction is a quick and simple procedure that can be performed on both men and women. It involves removing the excess brown or pink area surrounding the nipple which usually has a diameter of between 4-5cm. Areola reduction usually begins with your surgeon removing a circular segment of the outer brown area of the areola. The skin surrounding this is then brought inwards in a purse string fashion to surround the areola.

+ Nipple Inversion surgery is usually carried out under local anaesthetic and in one of two most common ways. The first begins with an incision to allow lifting of the nipple and areola tissue whilst remaining attached to the breast, the ducts are separated and the nipple is allowed to sit proudly in its new position. The second method is the incision is made at the base of the nipple and the shortened milk ducts are detached completely allowing for a natural looking projection of the nipple.

Nipple size or appearance can often change through weight gain, weight loss or pregnancy but can also be caused by hormonal imbalances and genetics. Conditions such as gynaecomastia can also cause nipples to appear oversized in proportion to the rest of the chest.

Nipple surgery will be performed by one of our highly trained plastic surgeons.

Your nipple (and/or areola) reduction consultation will also be an opportunity for you to ask the surgeon about anything you are uncertain of.

Some things you might want to ask may include:

+ Are my expectations realistic for nipple surgery?
+ Do you have any before and after pictures of previous nipple reduction surgeries?
+ Where will the scars be and how will you minimize them?
+ How long is the recovery period?
+ Will my nipples be sore after surgery?
+ How soon until I can see the final results?

Nipple reduction surgery is normally performed under local anaesthetic which means you are awake during the operation.

If you would prefer your nipple reduction surgery to be performed under a light general anaesthetic, this can be arranged with your surgeon prior to surgery.

The reason nipple reduction takes place under local anaesthetic is that it is a very quick and straightforward procedure that takes around 20 minutes to treat each nipple. The procedure involves the excision of the nipple tissue to reduce its size; the scars post-surgery will be minimal and virtually undetectable as they are well hidden on the underside of the nipple where it meets the areola.

During your consultation, you can expect your surgeon to examine your breasts, go over your surgical options and ask you for a complete medical history and current list of medications. Your surgeon will listen to your aesthetic concerns and explain the procedure to you. They will give you an idea of what your areolas and nipples will look like after the surgery.

Your experienced Cadogan Clinic surgeon will give you pre-operative advice at your initial consultation and this may include stopping smoking and taking certain medications such as aspirin which will delay your healing.

Many of these procedures can be easily accomplished under local anaesthesia. For the larger procedures or for preference you may decide to have our gentle form of anaesthesia, TIVA (Total Intravenous anaesthesia) in this case, you'll be asked to arrange a ride to and from the procedure, as you'll be unable to drive after surgery.

You will need to fast for 4 hours, although sips of water are permissible for up to 2 hours before surgery. It's also best to come to surgery without any make-up or cosmetics, without wearing any jewellery and in comfortable, loose fitting clothes.

During your consultation, you can expect your surgeon to examine your breasts, go over your surgical options and ask you for a complete medical history and current list of medications. Your surgeon will listen to your aesthetic concerns and explain the procedure to you. They will give you an idea of what your areolas and nipples will look like after the surgery.

Your experienced Cadogan Clinic surgeon will give you pre-operative advice at your initial consultation and this may include stopping smoking and taking certain medications such as aspirin which will delay your healing.

Many of these procedures can be easily accomplished under local anaesthesia. For the larger procedures or for preference you may decide to have our gentle form of anaesthesia, TIVA (Total Intravenous anaesthesia) in this case, you'll be asked to arrange a ride to and from the procedure, as you'll be unable to drive after surgery.

You will need to fast for 4 hours, although sips of water are permissible for up to 2 hours before surgery. It's also best to come to surgery without any make-up or cosmetics, without wearing any jewellery and in comfortable, loose fitting clothes.

You will start to see an immediate, visible improvement as soon as the stitches are removed in the days after surgery.

You will be able to see your final results and the shape of the nipple and areola within 2-3 months of the procedure, once the areola has settled into its new form and the scar has settled.

Yes your results will be permanent.

This procedure is not particularly painful, and the pain can be managed with over the counter painkillers, such as paracetamol and anti-inflammatory medicine.

Nipple reduction is very safe, minor surgery.

You will need a protective dressing for at least a week following surgery. This can be disguised with loose clothing. There may also be stitches to remove after 7-10 days.

Exercise including brisk walking should be avoided. However, you are not in significant pain and capable of working from home the next day.

Normal work depends on travelling issues and how physical it is. You may need to take one week off work following an areola or nipple reduction/correction surgery, perhaps longer if your job requires anything very physical.

Strenuous activities, heavy lifting and intense exercise should be avoided for around 6 weeks following your surgery.

You should be back to your regular routine and exercise after 4+ weeks of surgery.

Recovery from Nipple Reduction surgery is quick with very little disruption to your normal routine.

You may experience some bruising and swelling in the area operated on, however, this will usually fade in a couple of days.
Our surgeons use very fine stitches that will dissolve and fall out naturally over the course of a week or so. This procedure is not particularly painful, and the pain can be managed with over the counter painkillers, such as paracetamol and anti-inflammatory medicine.

During the healing and recovery process, you should be able to return to your normal daily activities just a few days following your surgery, depending on your tolerance of the swelling. We recommend avoiding any strenuous activities, or heavy lifting, for at least 4 weeks following the surgery. Wearing a good support bra for the weeks following the surgery is also recommended for women.

Scarring post-surgery will be minimal and virtually undetectable as they can be well hidden on the underside of the nipple where it meets the areola.

When the nipple is a different colour than the skin surrounding it, often the scar will blend in and appear more natural.

Our highly skilled surgeons will focus on retaining the connections between the breast tissue and the skin, to preserve the ability to breastfeed

Whilst we are unable to guarantee that you will be able to breastfeed after surgery, it is certainly an aim of your surgeon at the outset.

If you have recently had a baby and are currently breastfeeding, your surgeon may require you to wait for 3 to 6 months before you have a nipple reduction. This is so that your breasts and nipples can settle before the procedure.

Currently, there are no options other than surgery to reduce the size of the nipple or areola, or change nipple or areola shape.

A protruding nipple can be fixed by trimming the skin and bulk of the nipple to shrink its overall size. It is similar to other procedures that remove excess tissue from the body, but in this case, the procedure is on a much smaller scale and scars insignificant.

Around one in ten women in the UK suffer from nipple-related conditions where the nipples may be irregular or enlarged causing them to protrude through clothing. Protrusion can be a source of embarrassment as well as pain and irritation known as 'jogger's nipple'.

Protruding nipples can be an issue for men too. Underlying breast tissue may, in addition, push the nipples outward and require reduction. This condition is called Gynaecomastia.

Nipple correction is about ridding the patient of their social anxiety or embarrassment and physical pain from their condition.
Protruding nipple correction at our Clinic can reduce the height and width of the nipple while still preserving sensation. Nipple correction can easily be combined with other procedures, so you only have to go through the process of surgery once.

If you find your self-image and your confidence comprised by protruding nipples, the solution may be easier than you thought. The procedure is relatively simple and straightforward. It can be carried out under local anaesthesia or in combination with other procedures (under general anaesthesia).

Recovery from protruding nipple surgery is quick with very little disruption to your normal routine. Nipple correction surgery is an outpatient procedure. Since there is no long rest period following the procedure you will be back in the swing of things with newfound confidence in no time.

A nipple reduction procedure will solely address problems with the size and shape of the nipple itself, or the surrounding areola (in the case of an areola reduction or correction).

Wider concerns relating to the size and shape of the breast region will need to be addressed via other surgeries. These can be easily be combined with nipple reduction into one larger operation.

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