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Areola correction

What is the Areola correction?

The pigmented portion surrounding the nipple is called the areola and it may be enlarged or puffy. This may occur on one or both breasts of women or men. The areola can be enlarged in diameter and have different degrees of coloration. This is often a congenital situation or may be related to massive enlargement during breast-feeding and never decreasing back to normal size. Puffy areolas are often related to an anatomic situation called tubular breast where the areolas “herniate” or protrude from the breast tissue as if a tight ring were present around the base. Either situation can be improved with surgery known as areola reduction.

What is the procedure?

All reductions begin with a doctor examination to determine the available options to achieve the desired results. Areola reduction is done by removing some of the pigmented areola, either by an incision around the outside of the areola or by an incision around the base of the nipple. Very large areolas may require a lollypop-shaped closure. This is where a vertical incision runs down from the nipple as well as around the areola and then is closed in the shape of a lollypop.

The goal is to minimize scarring and this is achieved by performing the smallest incision necessary. Dissolving sutures are placed underneath the skin - these minimize scarring as well as eliminate the need to come back into the clinic for a suture removal.

Puffy areolar reduction is done by removing some of the pigmented areola, either by an incision around the outside of the areola or by an incision around the base of the nipple, depending on the degree of puffiness. Once the incision is made, a small portion of the areola is removed and the areola skin is lifted, reducing the puffiness. Dissolving sutures are placed underneath the skin.

Areola reduction surgery is usually performed under light sedation, general anesthesia or even local anesthetic.

What kind of result can you expect?

Many women find that Areolar surgery restores the younger looking breast they had before pregnancy, childbirth and breast feeding. The benefits from areolar surgery:

- areolar surgery reduces the areola size to balance it with the breast;

- areolar surgery improves symmetry of the nipple/areolar area;

- areolar surgery reduces areola puffiness (areolar herniation);

- areolar surgery removes prominent bumps (Montgomery tubercles) often caused by nipple stimulation;

- areolar surgery can mimic the effect of a slight breast lift;

- areolar surgery results in a more youthful looking breast.

Recovery period and recommendations

Recovery time will depend on the patient, but most patients can return to work and resume their normal activity within a day or two. In the first few days after surgery you may feel some discomfort, but this can be easily mitigated through the use of pain relievers. In some cases, your surgeon may advise that you abstain from any sexual activity or from any high-intensity exercises for a few weeks.

Possible side effects and complications

The scope of the complications that might arise includes failing to achieve the desired aesthetic outcome of the surgery, bleeding, infection, nerve damage leading to either temporary or permanent numbness or loss of sensation, or scars. While the ability to breastfeed is usually preserved after the surgery, there is always the slight possibility that surgical complications could lead to difficulties.

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