How is a nipple reduction procedure performed?
The technique that your surgeon will use to reduce large or puffy nipples will depend on whether you are only having a nipple reduction procedure, or if you are having the procedure in combination with another procedure such as an areola reduction or another type of breast surgery.
Below will give you an overview of what the nipple reduction procedure will involve, from start to finish.
Before you undergo your nipple reduction surgery, you need to give your consent for the procedure. You will do this by signing a consent form on the day of or before your surgery. Make sure you have had enough time to fully discuss with your surgeon how the procedure will be performed, and its benefits, risks, and complications. If you have any uncertainties about the surgery, ensure you have clarified these with your surgeon before you sign the consent form. Once you are happy to go ahead with the procedure, your surgeon may draw incision lines with a surgical marker on the treatment area to demonstrate where he or she will be making the surgical incisions.
Next, you will meet your anaesthetic in the anaesthetic room. The anaesthetist is the doctor who will be administering the anaesthetic drug. For a simple procedure such as a nipple reduction, you will usually have a local anaesthetic. This will numb the treatment area so you do not feel anything during the procedure. Your anaesthetist may also give you a sedative drug at the same time, to help you feel relaxed. Sometimes general anaesthetic will be used if this was discussed prior to your operation. This will put you to sleep throughout the entire operation, but bear in mind this type of anaesthetic generally carries more risks.
You will move to the operating theatre where your surgeon will prepare you for the operation. He or she will begin by cleaning the treatment area and draping over a sterile sheet. Your surgeon will then make an incision; for a nipple reduction procedure, this is usually a circumareolar incision.
The circumareolar incision goes around the full circumference of the base of the nipple. The surgeon then cuts away the extra tissue and pulls the rest of the nipple in towards the breast. The result is a reduction in nipple length.
4. Closing of incisions
Your surgeon will use stitches to secure the nipple into its new position and close the incision. The surgeon may use absorbable and/or non-absorbable sutures. They will then apply a light dressing to help protect the treated area.
5. Return to the ward
Once the surgeon has completed the procedure, you will move to a recovery room. Over the next few hours, the anaesthetic will gradually wear off. The nurses on the ward will ensure you are comfortable and at ease.
What incisions are made for an areola reduction procedure?
Similar to a nipple reduction procedure, the technique that your surgeon will use to reduce the size or puffiness of the areolas will depend on whether you are only having an areolar reduction procedure or if you are having the procedure in combination with another procedure such as a nipple reduction or another type of breast surgery.
For an areola reduction procedure, the following two circumareolar incisions are made:
Around the base of the nipple.
Towards the outer part of the areola
After your surgeon makes these two incisions, the excess part of the areola is removed and the remaining skin is pulled together with stitches.
If the areola is particularly large, an extra incision may be made from the base of the nipple down to the outer edge of the areola. This is called a large areola reduction procedure and it allows the surgeon to remove more excess skin.