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Nipple Reduction Surgery FAQ

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Nipple reduction surgery is a cosmetic procedure that reduces the size of the nipple and the areola, which is the pigmented skin surrounding the nipple. Women and men choose to have this procedure for a variety of reasons, such as improving the appearance of asymmetrical or enlarged nipples, or to address discomfort caused by friction or rubbing. In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about nipple reduction surgery, including who is a good candidate, the surgical procedure, recovery, and frequently asked questions.

What is Nipple Reduction Surgery?

Nipple reduction surgery is a cosmetic procedure that reduces the size of the nipple and the areola. This is achieved through a surgical technique that removes excess tissue and reshapes the nipple to achieve a more aesthetically pleasing and symmetrical appearance.

Who Is A Good Candidate For Nipple Reduction Surgery?

Both men and women may be good candidates for nipple reduction surgery. The procedure may be suitable for individuals with enlarged, asymmetrical, or elongated nipples or areolas, or those experiencing discomfort or pain caused by friction or rubbing.

Why Do People Opt For Nipple Reduction Surgery?

People opt for nipple reduction surgery for a variety of reasons, including improving the appearance of asymmetrical or enlarged nipples, reducing discomfort caused by friction or rubbing, or addressing self-esteem or body image concerns.

Pre-operative considerations

Finding a qualified surgeon

When considering nipple reduction surgery, it is essential to find a qualified and experienced plastic surgeon who specializes in breast surgery. You can start by researching surgeons online, reading reviews, and asking for referrals from friends and family members who have had similar procedures.

Initial consultation and evaluation

During your initial consultation, your surgeon will evaluate your medical history, assess your breast size and shape, and discuss your goals and expectations for the procedure. You will also have an opportunity to ask any questions you may have about the procedure, recovery, and potential risks and complications.

Pre-operative instructions

Your surgeon will provide you with pre-operative instructions that you should follow to ensure a safe and successful surgery. These instructions may include avoiding certain medications, quitting smoking, and arranging for a caregiver to assist you during your recovery period.

The Surgical Procedure

Anesthesia options Nipple reduction surgery is typically performed under local anesthesia with sedation or general anesthesia, depending on the extent of the procedure and your personal preference.

Techniques used for nipple reduction surgery

Several surgical techniques may be used for nipple reduction surgery, depending on the extent of the procedure and your individual goals and preferences. These techniques may involve removing excess tissue, reshaping the nipple and areola, and repositioning the nipple to achieve a more symmetrical appearance.

Duration of the surgery

Nipple reduction surgery typically takes between one and two hours, depending on the extent of the procedure and whether any additional surgeries, such as breast augmentation or breast lift, are being performed simultaneously.

Possible risks and complications

As with any surgery, nipple reduction surgery carries some risks and potential complications. These may include bleeding, infection, scarring, changes in nipple sensation, asymmetry, and dissatisfaction with the results. However, the risk of complications can be minimized by choosing a qualified and experienced surgeon, following pre-operative instructions, and carefully adhering to post-operative care instructions.

Recovery and Aftercare

Post-operative instructions

Following the surgery, your surgeon will provide you with specific post-operative instructions that you should follow carefully to promote healing and minimize the risk of complications. These instructions may include wearing a special surgical bra or compression garment, avoiding strenuous activities, and applying topical ointments or creams to promote healing.

Pain management

Some discomfort and swelling are normal after nipple reduction surgery. Your surgeon may prescribe pain medications or recommend over-the-counter pain relievers to manage any discomfort or pain.

When can normal activities be resumed?

You should avoid strenuous activities, heavy lifting, or any activity that may put pressure or strain on your chest area for at least two to three weeks after the surgery. Most people can return to normal activities, including work and exercise, within two to four weeks after the surgery.

How to minimize scarring

Although some scarring is inevitable after nipple reduction surgery, you can take steps to minimize scarring and promote healing. These may include avoiding exposure to sunlight, applying silicone gel or sheeting, and following a healthy diet and lifestyle to promote overall healing.

Follow-up appointments

Your surgeon will schedule follow-up appointments with you to monitor your healing progress, check for any signs of complications, and discuss any concerns or questions you may have about your recovery.

How Many Post-op Appointments Will You Have?

After nipple reduction surgery, the number of follow-up appointments you have will depend on how quickly you heal and how extensive the operation was. Most of the time, you will have between one and three follow-up appointments within a few days of surgery to check on how well you are improving and make sure there are no signs of problems.
Over the next few weeks and months, your surgeon may set up more follow-up appointments to check on your healing, see if there have been any changes in how your nipple feels, and answer any questions or worries you may have about your recovery.

How Much Does Nipple Reduction Cost?

The cost of nipple reduction surgery may vary depending on several factors, including the extent of the procedure, the surgeon's fees, and the location of the surgery. The cost can range from $800 to $6,900, with an average cost of $2,889.

How Long Does Nipple Reduction Take?

The length of time it takes to do nipple reduction surgery depends on how big of a job it is and if it is done alone or with other cosmetic treatments. Usually, it takes between 30 minutes and an hour to do nipple reduction surgery.

What Kind Of Anesthesia Is Used For Nipple Reduction?

In most cases, nipple reduction surgery is performed using local anesthesia with sedation, which allows you to remain conscious and comfortable during the procedure while numbing the area around the nipples to reduce any pain or discomfort.

Will Nipple Reduction Surgery Impact My Ability To Breastfeed In The Future?

Some glandular tissue may be removed, milk ducts and nerves may be cut, and the nipple may be moved during nipple reduction surgery. All of these things can affect the breast's ability to make and release milk. Breast reduction surgery, which includes cutting milk ducts and nerves in the breast, tends to have the most impact on milk supply. Other surgeries, like breast enlargement, lift, nipple, and diagnostic surgeries, can also cause a woman to make less milk.

Even though there is a risk, it is possible to reduce the size of a woman's nipple without affecting the milk tubes. Before the nipple reduction surgery, it is important to talk with the surgical team about your plans for breastfeeding. It is not necessary to have a full supply of milk to be able to nurse well, and it is possible to supplement in a way that helps breastfeeding. Some breast treatments, like augmentation, lift, and reduction, can affect the nerves and ducts in the breast, which can make it hard to breastfeed.


To sum up, nipple reduction surgery can help those who are self-conscious about their nips look more proportional and attractive. Incisions around the nipple base remove superfluous tissue to minimize its size and restructure the remaining tissue. Local anaesthetic with sedation or general anesthesia is used for outpatient nipple reduction surgery. 

When choosing nipple reduction surgery, evaluate the risks, recuperation time, and expense. To decide if nipple reduction surgery is best for you, discuss these factors with your surgeon during your initial appointment. Choose a board-certified plastic surgeon with experience in nipple reduction surgery. Ask about their training, experience, and results with nipple reduction surgery, and look at their before-and-after images. Nipple reduction surgery is safe and helpful for improving self-confidence and nipple attractiveness. To discover if nipple reduction surgery is correct for you, talk with a certified plastic surgeon.

Aaron Bernstein, MD, MPH

Aaron Bernstein is the Interim Director of The Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment, a pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital, and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics.

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