Small or Big Areolas? – Changing Trends in Areola Size during Breast Surgery

Demand for Cosmetic Plastic surgery is linked to changing beauty trends. Increased use of social media and rise of influencers has resulted in new trends including areola size. It’s a new plastic surgery trend where people are trying to change the size of their areola to make them look more like the celebrities they like. 

While trends keep changing over time, the size of the areola has been something that has always stayed the same.

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Areola Size After Breast Surgery

If you are undergoing a breast lift or reduction, it is likely that changing the shape of the breast will also change the position of the nipple. What this means is that your surgeon will need to reposition it to the middle to avoid any downward-pointing nipples. Areola reduction/resizing is always performed during a Breast Lift and Reduction surgery.

If you would like for your areola size to be altered during the surgery, meaning that you want to have smaller areolas, you can discuss the use of cookie cutters or nipple cutters with your surgeon. These are tools that a surgeon will use to reduce the size of your nipple. Based on your breast size and volume, your surgeon will recommend the optimal size for you. Knowing this size will then help the surgeon use the right size of nipple cutters during the surgery. 

The sizes of these cookie cutters are between 38 mm, 42 mm, and 45 mm. The specific cookie cutter used on you will depend on the overall size of the breasts. An areola cutter is the best tool to use when a round and small nipple is wanted. However, there are women who want a nipple that is small, but not perfectly round. There are two solutions to this. Dr Rubinstein typically uses a size of 38mm or 42mm depending on the patients wishes and their overall breast shape. This will be discussed with you in detail during your consultation.

Firstly, a cap can be drawn by hand to obtain the shape of the areola and the cookie cutter tool can just help with the reduction aspect of the nipple. In this option, your surgeon will hand draw a template on your nipple as the guide to be used in the surgery for the reduction in areola size.

The second solution is only applicable if a slightly oval shape of the areola is preferred over the circle. If you are looking for an areola boundary that is not circular and not as irregular as with a hand-drawn cap, then this option might be for you. Moreover, the option works if you have also gone for increased breast size. Basically, the surgeon will still use a cookie cutter for the reduction in your nipple size, but this time, the weight of your breasts after the surgery will stretch the skin. 

Can you change the size of your areola alone?

The specific procedure that people can undergo to change their areola size is called the areola reduction procedures. The procedure has been around before the introduction of the areola trend. 

The areola reduction procedure is a cosmetic surgery procedure that is performed with the purpose of reducing the diameter of the areola in either one breast, or both breasts. The areola reduction procedure is a cosmetic procedure that can either be performed on its own or in conjunction with a breast. 

Although the terms nipple and areola are used synonymously, there are two different parts of your breast. The areola is the pigmented region of your breast on which the nipple lies. 

Reasons for Areola Reduction Surgery

The areola reduction procedure has reason why patients choose it that range from physical aesthetics to psychological health.

If the reason for undergoing the areola reduction procedure is to get rid of stretched-out areolas, then the procedure will also have aesthetic changes. Aesthetics of the breast are also altered when the nipples/areolas are asymmetric meaning that one might be bigger than the other.

As with any surgery, there are a few risks and complications that need to be considered. The most common risks and complications of areola reduction include:

  • Infection and bleeding 
  • Loss of sensation
  • Significant scarring
  • Rarely, the loss of milk ducts

Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Read more here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens to your areolas after breast surgery?

  • The size and shape of your areola can be altered during a Breast Augmentation. Despite your surgeon not specifically touching this area, the pressure of your implant and excess weight can stretch the nipple/areola complex and may even result in the areola being higher or lower than previously. If you had undergone a breast reduction procedure or a breast lift procedure due to breast ptosis, there is a huge likelihood that your nipples had changed position and were pointing downwards. An areola reduction will always be performed in conjunction with the Breast Lift or Reduction surgery.

Do they make your areolas smaller when you get a breast reduction?

  • Yes, when you undergo a breast reduction procedure, the surgeon will remove excess skin and fatty tissue from the breasts and resize your areolas.  

How long does it take for the areola to heal?

  • After a cosmetic or plastic surgery of the breast, women have reported a loss of sensation in their nipples. Some women also complain of nipple soreness. This will typically resolve on their own, though may be permanent. The recovery will depend on other procedures performed at the same time.  

What will my nipples look like after breast reduction?

  • Your nipple shape and position will change significantly during the recovery period from the breast reduction. Right after the breast reduction procedure, your breasts will be swollen and bruised. Your nipples and areola, at this time, will appear smaller and puckered. Over the first 12 months they will settle and look more even.  

How can I reduce the size of my nipples?

  • To reduce the size of the nipples and areola, undergoing a nipple reduction procedure is an option. There aren’t any non-surgical methods that can reduce the size of the nipples. 

Further Medical Reading

About Dr Craig Rubinstein

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Dr Craig Rubinstein FRACS (Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons) is an experienced Melbourne Specialist Plastic Surgeon for breast and abdominoplasty surgery.

Dr Rubinstein offers women personalised abdominoplasty surgery and all forms of cosmetic breast surgery.

BOOK A CONSULTATION (03) 8849 1400

Next Steps in Your Surgical Journey

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About Your First Consultation

  • Dr Rubinstein’s Consultation fee is $300.
  • A referral from your GP or specialist is essential.
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What to Bring to Your Consultation

  • You are more than welcome to bring a friend or relative to help discuss the information and your choices.
  • Ensure you also take a lot of notes and thoroughly examine the documents provided.
  • Please be aware you may need to undress for a physical exam so wear simple clothes.