The areola has an average diameter of about 4.5 cm. A too large areola can be reduced in different ways.
Areola reduction is done by removing the pigmented skin that surrounds the nipple or the areola. This is either done with a small incision around the outer edge of the areola or around the nipple. This can leave a small scar around the areola.
It can perfectly be done under a local anaesthetic. The mammary gland and the milk ducts remain untouched, so breastfeeding will still be possible afterwards.
Too protruding nipples can be reduced with the help of plastic surgery. Nipple reduction takes place under a local anaesthetic and does not leave any scars. Breastfeeding will still be possible as the milk ducts remain intact.
Nipples that are too big can also be reduced. With this procedure, however, some of the milk ducts are lost. Should you consider breastfeeding afterwards, then you will need to inform the surgeon about this. In some cases he will be able to opt for another procedure which, although the reduction will be less spectacular, leaves the milk ducts intact.
Retracted nipples (nipple invagination)
There are different types of retracted nipples:
A nipple can be ‘ill constructed’. This problem usually develops during puberty and is the most difficult type to treat as an incision has to be made through the nipple that goes through the milk ducts. It is these milk ducts which pull the nipple back. Breastfeeding will not be possible after this type of surgery. It takes place under a local anaesthetic and scabs can be formed during a few weeks.
A nipple with a normal shape can also sometimes retract. Even though there is nothing wrong with the shape of the nipple itself, this can be experienced as an aesthetic problem. When there is nothing wrong with the construction of the nipple itself, the problem can be solved with a simple operation. Surgery takes place under a local anaesthetic and does not leave any scars. Breastfeeding remains possible as the milk ducts are left intact.