Nipple Reduction Surgery – How Performed, Cost, Risks, Recovery


Many women are pleased with the size and shape of their breasts but don’t like the look of their nipples. Some feel they have overly large or protruding nipples. Others develop elongated and larger nipples after breast feeding and want them reduced.

Both men and women request nipple reduction surgery and the procedure is quite common for men. Men may be embarrassed by overly large or prominent nipples, particularly when wearing a swimsuit or light T-shirt. Overly prominent nipples in men may be related to excessive growth of the male mammary glands (gynecomastia).

Nipple reduction surgery is usually a simple procedure. It can be done by itself but is often performed together with areola reduction surgery, breast lift surgery, breast reductions and breast augmentations. If the nipples sag, a nipple lift can also be performed. In any case, the surgery increases self-esteem by beautifying the breast.

How is nipple reduction surgery done?

Most surgeries of this type are performed under local anesthesia in the surgeon’s office or an outpatient surgery center. The procedure will usually take 30 to 60 minutes.

The surgical technique will depend on your individual nipple anatomy. The diameter of the nipple can be reduced, or nipples that are too long or project out too far can be shortened. Generally, the surgeon will remove a small wedge or section of nipple tissue and close the incision with dissolving sutures.

The recovery time is minimal and there is usually very little discomfort. You can drive yourself home after the procedure.

Risks/complications of nipple reduction surgery

Nipple reduction surgery has few risks or complications. Some amount of swelling, bruising and numbness is normal. Some patients may experience bleeding around the scar area or an infection. Infection can be treated with antibiotics.

You may lose sensation in your nipples. This condition may improve after surgery but can remain permanent in a small percentage of patients.

Every surgical incision will leave a scar, but nipple reduction scars are difficult to see because of the nipple’s pigmentation. The scar is confined to the nipple and usually heals well.

Be sure to let your surgeon know in advance if you have a history of keloid scars (excess scar tissue that protrudes above the skin). Fortunately, nipple surgery has a very small chance of keloid formation.

Nipple reduction surgery is not usually recommended for women who are not finished having children because the surgery can interfere with breastfeeding.

Cost of Nipple Reduction Surgery

The cost of nipple surgery ranges from $1,500 to $2,000 when performed as a stand-alone procedure. Nipple reduction is a cosmetic surgery and will not be covered by your health insurance.

Nipple reduction surgery will improve the cosmetic appearance of the nipple and breast, and improve your self-confidence. Look for a competent plastic surgeon with a lot of expertise in nipple reduction and breasts in general. Be sure to discuss all aspects of the procedure – options, risks, complications, etc. – so you will know what to expect.

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