An outpatient surgery with a quick recovery time, areola reduction can boost appearance and self-confidence

Some women believe that their areolas — the ring of pigmented skin surrounding the nipple of the breast — are too big, puffy or prominent. Areolas can be made larger because of genetics, weight gain, breast feeding and other factors. Also, as breasts sag, areolas can expand and stretch with age.

Areola reduction surgery can help solve this dilemma. A straightforward procedure that’s sometimes done in combination with other breast surgeries, it involves making a concentric circle incision around the edge of the areola, then removing a donut-shaped piece of tissue and skin. The nipple, with veins leading to blood supply and milk ducts, remains intact.

The surgery is not without some hazards, however. While the scar is hidden around the edge of the areola and will likely fade with time, loss of pigmentation can result in lightened areas of skin. Areola tattooing or micropigmentation can counter this by blending pigment into these areas for a uniform, consistent look. And all surgeries have risks, including anesthesia complications, infection and permanent numbness. These and other potential issues should be fully discussed with your doctor before going ahead with the surgery.

On its own, areola reduction is usually done on an outpatient basis. You can resume normal activities after a few days and the results are lasting. It is a minor and cost-effective procedure that can provide a long-term boost to a woman’s appearance and self-confidence.

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