Nipple/Areolar Surgery

In Arizona and around the country, there is a lot of media attention given to breast enlargement, breast reduction, and breast lifting surgery. However, I am always surprised by how few patients realize that isolated problems of the nipples and areolas can also be corrected. I perform inverted nipple correction and areola reduction surgery for Scottsdale and Phoenix women as individual procedures or in combination with breast surgery.

Receive a cosmetic consultation with board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Robert Cohen or call (602) 702-5380 to learn more about aesthetic breast procedures. Dr. Cohen will be happy to answer your questions. He welcomes patients from all over Arizona, as well as other states and countries.

Nipple or Areola?

To clarify the terms - what most people refer to as a nipple actually has two components: the central part that normally protrudes (the nipple), and the flatter, disk-shaped portion (the areola). The nipple and areola together constitute one of the most important cosmetic units of the breast, and problems in this area can be a source of significant unhappiness for patients. Some common problems of the nipple and areola include inverted nipples, excessively large areolas, and protruding ("puffy") areolas.

Inverted Nipples

Inverted (inward pointing) nipples are actually fairly common. This problem occurs in as many as 2% of women, and can affect one or both sides. Inverted nipples can result from a narrow nipple base, excessively short milk ducts, or by scarring of the milk ducts (after a milk duct infection, for example). There are various degrees of nipple inversion, graded by severity. In the mildest form (grade 1), nipples tend to invert when stimulated by cold or touch, but are usually in the normal position. In the moderate form (grade 2), the nipples are usually inverted, but can be pushed out with manual pressure. In the severe form (grade 3), no amount of squeezing can correct the inversion. Breast-feeding can be a problem with the moderate to severe cases, and many women feel very self-conscious of their inverted nipples regardless of the severity.

Inverted nipple correction can occur as its own procedure, or as part of another breast surgery procedure, such as breast augmentation. When performing this surgery, I expose and then selectively divide whatever is pulling the nipple inward, while leaving any healthy milk ducts intact. The recovery period from this surgery is relatively short, while the functional and self-esteem benefits are significant. Patients need to understand that this may decrease their chances of breast feeding and this needs to be taken into consideration prior to surgery.

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Medical director Dr. Robert Cohen and his associate, Dr. Josh Olson, are both certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery. These talented surgeons have trained with some of the world's best, and the proof is in their results.

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Reasons for Areola Surgery

There is no perfect areola size, as everyone has his or her own sense of what looks best. Despite this, many women still feel that their areolas are too large. Sometimes, large areolas are associated with large breasts, in which case both can be corrected simultaneously with breast reduction or a breast lift. However, in women who are happy with their breast size but unhappy with their areola size, I perform a relatively simple procedure to reduce the areola to a smaller, more aesthetic size.

It has been my experience as a board-certified plastic surgeon that some women are embarrassed because they believe that their areolas are too "puffy". The skin of the areola is not as thick as the surrounding skin, and the underlying breast tissue can push through, causing a mound under the areola. I correct this problem, much like the problem of an excessively large areola, by reducing the areola's overall size and "tightening it up".

Many other variations of nipples and areolas exist which can cause embarrassment to patients, such as excessively long nipples or irregularly shaped areolas. Generally, I am able to improve all of these with relatively minor surgery.

Visit our specialty breast surgery website to find out additional information about nipple and areolar surgery as well as other procedures.

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