Breast Deformity, Nipple Size? (photo)

The size of my nipples has always been a source of embarrassment, but I'm wondering whether there is an underlying medical condition? Do I have tubular breast deformity or a condition of the like? Is there a procedure available that would cause minimal scarring? Any guidance would be appreciated. Thank you.

Doctor Answers 18

Breast Lift Concerns

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     Breast lift will likely give you the improvement you seek and can reduce the size of your areolae.  The tradeoff is the scarring.

Breast Deformity, Nipple Size?

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Thanks for the question and sharing your pictures. You do not have tuberous breasts. The shape of your breasts is the result of sagging. Your areolas (pink circle around nipples) are in the normal size range.

If you want to improve your breast shape and perkiness, a breast lift (mastopexy) will achieve this. Also, it can reduce the size of your areolas, if you wish. If you want more fullness in the upper portion of your breasts, implants would be an option.

Best wishes,

Michael Vennemeyer, MD

Your breast (nipple/areola) changes could be improved in several ways.

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Dear smallandobscure:  I hope you won't feel embarrassed.  The best answer is that no, you do not have a breast deformity.  Instead your photos appear to show some fairly common, natural changes that develop over time.  First, women have all sizes of nipples (the projection) and areolas (the colored circle around the nipple).  And they change with time, pregnancies, hormone changes and even weight fluctuations. 


You should meet with a board certified plastic surgeon and discuss your options; which might include making the areola circle smaller in diameter or lifting up your breast tissue and improving the areola.  If you sought more upper breast fullness or a larger cup size, the lift might be combined with implant augmentation.  Most patients consider the scarring to be minimal and very worthwhile, considering the improvements they see.  Some representative examples can be found in my website's photo gallery, under breast lift.


Tubular breasts may have wide diameter areolas, but those breasts are more elongated and the areolas are often dome-shape.  The breast gland tissue would be more narrowly distributed.

Sutton Graham II, MD
Greenville Plastic Surgeon

Unhappy With Nipple Size And Breast Shape

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Good Morning and thank you for the photos.  You do not have tubular breasts.  Your breast shape is elongated because you have breast ptosis (sag) that changes the shape of your breast.

Your nipple-areola (areola is the pigmented skin surrounding your nipple) can be reduced with a fairly simple operation.  The procedure involves the removal of a 'donut' segment of skin from the areola and then closing the incision with a 'pursestring' stitch that goes around the entire border of the areola.  This will not only reduce the size of the areola, but also provide you with a small to modest lift.  The scar will remain around the border of your areola and usually heals very nicely.

Consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon and review their photos to give you a much more thorough understanding of what can be done to meet your goals.  Best Wishes!!!!!

Correcting enlarged areaolas improves breast aesthetics

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Thanks for your question.  When the areolas are enlarged it is possible to reduced the size and improve breast shape by doing a periareaolar mastopexy.  This involves excising excess skin around the areola and removing extra areolar skin.  The breast skin around areola is then "pursestringed" to the new desired areolar diameter.  This minimizes scarring because the only incision is around the areola which is a nice place to hide a scar.  Another option based on the pictures is simply to do a breast augmentation.  I have had patients who are fair with light pink areolas that have underwent a breast augmentation and instead of looking more prominent, the areolas once stretched fade in coloration and end up looking better.  If you are interested in a breast augmentation that may be a good option for you.  Good luck and as always consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon.

Unhappy with size of nipples

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Hello smallandobscure,


You do not have a tuberous breast deformity.  The size of your areolar (the brown skin around your nipple) could be reduced relatively simply, although it would leave a scar all the way around your nipple.  These scars do tend to fade quite well in time, but you should consult a plastic surgeon and ask to see some photographs to check that you are happy taking this on.

If you were unhappy with the shape of your breasts and wanted a lift, this could be done at the same time, but may well involve extra scarring, usually extending vertically down from the nipple, and sometimes in the fold of the breast, where the wire of your bra sits, too.

I think it would be well worth you seeking the opinion of a plastic surgeon as they may well be able to help you, although you would have to accept the inevitable scarring.

Breast Deformity, Nipple Size

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Thanks for your question and for the photos. I would not call this a tubular deformity. Rather, you breasts have ptosis (sag) and the areolas are large.

These could be improved with a circumareolar lift, which would reduce the areolar size and provide a small to modest amount of lift. A vertical lift would also reduce the size of the areolas, and would provide more of a lift. albeit with an extra, vertical scar. 

When you ready for an in person consultation, RealSelf has listings of surgeons in your area. You should consider cross referencing the listings from the The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (plasticsurgery dot org). A listing in the ASPS website assures you that your surgeon is not only board certified,  but also is a member in good standing of the major plastic surgery organization in the U. S.

Thank you for your question, best wishes.

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

Large nipples

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Thank you for your question and for providing the photos. The size of the areola is quite variable, and can become enlarged with increased sag of the breasts or from breast feeding. In many cases, the diameter of the areola can be simply large since their development, and can bother some women.

There are options to reduce the size of the areola and make them proportionate to the size of the breasts. If there is little or no sag, a donut of areola can be removed to reduce the areolar size. This does leave a scar around the edge of the darker skin, but usually is fairly inconspicuous. If there is more significant sag associated with the enlarged areola, then a circumvertical, or lollipop, lift may be needed.

Your breasts are not tubular, but do have some sag. They would likely be best treated with a lift and areolar reduction. I would suggest consulting with a board certified plastic surgeon so that more definitive options could be given after an exam.

Best of luck.

Jeff Rockmore

Causes of areolar enlargement

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You appear to have a degree of ptosis (stretching out) of the breasts, which is often accompanied by a stretching out of the areola, the colored zone around the nipple.  If you want the breasts to be less settled, a breast lift is the best approach.  If it is only a matter of size of the areola, a Benelli lift could help, but it will not give a strong lift to the breast itself.

Are Societal Norms Forcing Cosmetic Breast Surgery

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Dear S&O,

It is unfortunate that the size of your areolae are a source of embarassment to you.  From the photos that you posted, it appears that you are an attractive, well developed young woman with a nice physique.  Normalcy encompasses a wide spectrum of anatomic variations.  I would offer that your breasts appear perfectly normal and rather attractive.  I do not know if that eases your concerns, but perhaps discussions with a loved one, boyfriend, family member, or even a professional might convince you.  There are consequences to everything that we do as physicians, including operating on the breast.  Good luck!

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.