Some women naturally have large areolas and others may develop them due to age, genetic predisposition, stretching of tissue by heavy breasts, or pregnancy and breast-feeding.
The areola (areola mammae) is the circular pigmented area surrounding the nipple (papilla mammae) and its surface is dotted with little projections due to the presence of areolar glands (sebaceous glands that secrete a waxy, lipoid fluid to lubricate, moisturise and protect the areola and the nipple) beneath.
Enlarged areolas can be both unflattering and a source of personal insecurity for a woman. Areola Reduction surgery is designed to remove the redundant areola tissue and improve the overall cosmetic appearance.
Areola Reduction is performed by removing some of the pigmented area. The procedure involves either an incision around the outside of the areola and a smaller incision with removal of the excess tissue in between like a donut, 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 closed in the shape of a lollypop.
Dissolvable sutures are placed underneath the skin, which help to minimise scarring. The resulting scars are well positioned around the outer edge of the reshaped and resized areola and are virtually invisible. Areola Reduction is often performed at the same time as a breast lift.
The procedure takes 1-2 hours and is performed under local/light sleep sedation or general anaesthesia.
Dressings and a light gauze bandage will need to be worn for several days. There may be minimal pain and swelling which usually dissipates by the second or third day and is easily controlled by medications.
Recovery time will depend on the patient, but most patients can return to work and resume their normal activity within a day or two.
The pleasing result of Areola Reduction surgery is a balanced and proportioned size and shape to the nipples and areolae.