What Techniques Are Used to Reduce the Areola?

I'm very fearful of trading one problem for another such as a huge scar that never fades.

Doctor Answers 5

Different ways to reduce the areola


There are many different ways to reduce the size and shape of the areola. Typically, an incision may be made around the perimeter of the areola. Through this incision a small doughnut shaped portion of skin may be removed from the areola and the skin closed directly. An incision at the site usually scar is very well and may be difficult to notice. Other techniques include making incision around the base of the nipple. A smaller amount of areola reduction is possible with this latter technique.

Your best bet is to be evaluated by a board-certified plastic surgeon who will be able to determine if an areola reduction is all that is necessary or if you will benefit more from a mastopexy along with your areola reduction

Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 101 reviews

The technique used for arealoae reduction is vital to the outcome

You make an excellent point - trading a large scar for a smaller areolae is not the goal.  Ask to see pictures at the surgeon you choose to be sure that his or her technique will have the potential to give you the results you desire.

W. Tracy Hankins, MD
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 294 reviews

Areola reduction techniques

To get a successful outcome in areola reduction, you first have to define what constitutes an attractive areola. In women, the areola should be at the apex or the highest point of the breast mound and not excessively stretched out. Regrettably age, pregnancy, weight gain and gravity conspire to change areola shape, size and position. Mastopexy (breast lift) techniques include areola reduction by scoring the areola at the desired diameter and then removing the superficial layer of skin, which is colored. Ensuring that the roundness remains is another matter. Periareolar or donut mastopexy techniques require the use of a permanent pursestring suture, which is cinched down to the desired diameter. The longeviy of this technique depends on whether the suture remains intact. If it fails, the areolar will spread out again. This technique is commonly employed for men, however the male areola complex is generally more rectangular than round, so it has its shortcomings.

Crescent lifts involve removing an upside down "U" around the superior aspect of the areola. My patients haven't been satisfied with the long term appearance, as the areola tend to elongate more in the vertical dimension.

Anchor mastopexy techniques allow reshaping of the areola with greater predictability, however the trade-off is the length of the scar. The patient should understand that the scars wil improve with time and that the placement adjacent to the colored skin has the best camouflage advantage. Don't forget to disclose any prior history of unfavorable scar formation, so your physician can make the best recommendations.

Lavinia K. Chong, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

Modified mastopexy

A large areola can be reduced by some modification of mastopexy (breast reshaping). Any technique will require, at least, an incision that goes completely around the areola and with it the resulting scar. Most of the time the scars become almost imperceptible, but before you choose to proceed with the operation, have a very good idea of what the trade-off will be.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Areola Reduction Results?

Thank you for the question.

You are wise to be concerned about trading one problem for another. Areola reduction surgery has its share of potential issues such as areola asymmetry, spreading of the areola, abnormal scarring, and the potentially for further surgery… Some surgeons used absorb sutures; some use permanent sutures- both techniques have their share of potential complications.

I would suggest in person consultation with a well experienced board-certified plastic surgeon.  See lots of examples of their work and make a very well-informed decision.

Best wishes.


Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,488 reviews

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.