For Nipple Incision Breast Implants Why Do They Only Cut Half the Nipple?

Doctor Answers 8

Nipple incision for breast augmentation

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Hi there-

Unless it is necessary to reduce the nipple/areolar diameter, there is no reason to make the incision any longer, and most patients are happier with a shorter scar.

Peri areolar incision for Breast Implants

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Peri-areolar incision

This is made at the border of the areola, from about the 4 o'clock to 8 o'clock position. It works nicely for patients with larger areolar diameters (4.0 cm or larger), as if often the case after pregnancy and lactation. The color difference between areolar skin and breast skin nicely conceals the scar in most cases, and in many patients the scar is almost undetectable within just a few weeks or months of surgery. This incision truly has the possibility of producing a scar that is ultimately invisible or almost invisible.

A theoretical downside with this incision is that it by definition requires the division of milk ducts when the breast tissue is dissected down to the pectoralis major muscle, and this may interfere with future attempts at breast feeding. There are some who believe that this incision carries a higher risk for capsular contracture as bacteria may be present in the milk ducts which could possibly adhere to the implant surface during breast augmentation surgery, which may over time lead to contracture. The latter is a theoretical concern, and it has not been conclusively shown that the peri-areolar approach has a higher rate of capsular contracture than the axillary and inframammary fold approaches. The peri-areolar incision is therefore still frequently used, as the aesthetic outcomes are usually excellent.

Michael Law, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 123 reviews

Nipple incision for implants

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
They usually only go half way around because that is really all you need to do so we always try to minimize the scars.

Robert Brueck, MD
Fort Myers Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 70 reviews

Small nipple incision for breast aug / Incision pequena del pezon para cirujia de aumento de senos

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

There are several reasons behind a small semicircular incision on the nipple.  The first is that the tissue stretches a bit.  The second is that implants are flexible.  The third has to do with geometry.  But rest assured except for in extreme cases, most implants can be put through a nipple aeorla incision.


Good luck and thank you for your question.




Anire Okpaku MD


Hay varias razones por las cuales se hace una pequena incision semicircular en en el pezon. La primera es que los tejidos se estiran un poco; la segunda es que los implantes so flexibles; la tercera tiene que ver con geometria. Pero quedese segura de que excepto algunos caso, la mayoria de los implantes pueden sen introduzidos por una incision del pezon/areola.


Suerte y gracias por su pregunta.




Anire Okpaku MD

Anire Okpaku, MD FACS
Miami Plastic Surgeon

Circumareolar incision

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
To insert the implant, it is not necessary to make an incision around the entire nipple. The incision is placed around the lower half of the areola.

Only a Small Nipple Incision Needed to Place Breast Implant

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

During the around the nipple breast augmentation, the surgeon typically needs only a 3-5 centimeter incision to place the implant, depending on the size.  This is most commonly done in the lower half of the areola.  If you're concerned with the diameter and size of your areola, and are looking for a reduction at the same time, there are ways of doing this with a periareolar (circumscribed around the areola) incision, thereby reducing the diameter of the areola.

Samuel Sohn, MD
Henderson Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 114 reviews

Breast augmentation incsiion

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

The doctor only needs a short incision to be able to do the surgery and place the implants which is why a longer cut is not needed. I hope this helps.

Gregory T. Lynam, MD
Richmond Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Incision size and location for breast augmentation

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

For clarification, the incision called "periareolar" is around the edge of the areola, not the nipple. 

The incision needs to be long enough to create the pocket for the implant correctly and then get the implant into the pocket. For a saline implant this could be a 2 cm incision and for silicone gel incisions it needs to be about 3 1/2 cm or longer. I would discourage the choice of a periareolar incision for breast augmentation as experience over many years suggests that the best incision is in the inframammary crease for both short term and long term reasons. 

Scott L. Replogle, MD
Boulder Plastic Surgeon

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.