Nipples too High After Breast Lift / Implants

I had a BL with silicone 300 cc's under the muscle done in Jan. '10. My nipples pop out of every shirt, bra and bathing suit top making for an interesting summer. Is there anything that can be done to correct this? And what would be the "typical" measurement between the crease and nipple? Thank you.

Doctor Answers 20

Nipples too high after lift and breast implants may indicate implants are too low

Thank you for your question.  Often if the breast implants are placed to low or migrate down then nipples are displaced up and to the outside and appear to high.  This can be corrected by adjusting the inferior portion of the lift and implant position.

However the other possibility is that the nipple areola was placed to high on your chest wall.  Generally speaking the distance from the top of the breast bone below your neck to the nipple should be no less than 20 or 21 cm.  If the lift placed your nipple areola too high that is less than 18 cm from the notch above your breast bone then it may be difficult to correct the problem.  Please see your plastic surgeon.

Nipples too High After Breast Lift / Implants

For an average framed individual, the distance from the collarbone to the nipples Is usually in the range of 18 to 21 cm. The position of the crease below the breast also plays a role. The distance from the nipple to the fold under the breast also can vary. In general, the higher the distance, the increased chance that the implant may settle too low relative to the position of the nipple. This may place the nipple on the upper part of the breast and this can make it more prone to pop out of a bra or bathing suit. Similarly, it is possible that the nipples were placed too close to the collarbone. You may wish to discuss with your plastic surgeon a possible revision if your problem is significant enough.

George Volpe, MD
Newton Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Malposition of the Nipple Areola Complexes

                  Malposition of the nipple areola complexes is a significant deformity that can occur for a variety of reasons following breast lift surgery. This deformity results in a phenomena known as a sunrise nipple, in which the nipple areola complexes point in an upward direction.

                  The majority of these cases occur because of settling of the breast implant and stretching of the inferior breast skin because of the effects of gravity. In other cases the areola may be positioned at a higher than normal level during surgery. Under these circumstances correction of this deformity can be extremely difficult.

                  In most cases, correction of this deformity involves raising the height of the infra-mammary fold and breast pocket by performing a capsulorrhaphy. In other cases the distance between the nipple and inframammary fold requires shortening. This usually involves a resection of skin along the inframammary fold which shortens the distance between the nipple and the fold. This distance typically measures 7 to 10cm depending upon the size of the breast.

                  If you’re concerned about nipple areola malposition, it’s important to consult a board certified plastic surgeon. This surgeon should be able to formulate an appropriate treatment plan for your problem. 

Richard J. Bruneteau, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 194 reviews

Nipple/Areola Too High?

Thank you for the question.

Depending on the size of the breasts, the distance from the areola to inframammary fold generally ranges between 6 cm and 9 cm. If this distance is too great after mastopexy surgery,  the nipple/areola complexes may appear to be too high on the breast mound (and seemed to be upward gazing). This may be the reason why your nipples want to “pop out” of clothing etc.

Correction of the situation  involves excision of additional skin and/or tissue along the lower poles  of the breasts;  this procedure would serve to correct the position of the nipple/areola complexes on the breast mounds.  They would no longer appear to be “star gazing”  and would more likely stay within the confines of clothing.

In person consultation with little experience plastic surgeons may be helpful.

Best wishes.


Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,503 reviews

Nipples too high

Hello,Normal measurements vary but if your nipples are constantly coming out of your shirt, they may be too high. This can be corrected, but will create scars on your lower breasts and moving them down a great distance can be challenging. It's best to get a consult with your plastic surgeon to discuss solutions. Best of luck!

Ross Blagg, MD
Austin Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Lots of options

This is usually caused by the implant slipping too low, or bottoming out, and the nipple areolar appears to point upward. Getting the maximum projection behind the nipple can change the tilt and make it appear not so high. There are so many different body types, shapes and breast positions that I don't think there are "typical" measurements. A good rule of thumb is that the nipple areolar is about mid arm level.

Elizabeth A. Kinsley, MD
Covington Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Nipples too High After Breast Lift / Implants

Thank you for your question.  Without a photo can be difficult to answer.  If your nipple was placed to high then a skin wedge excise is performed to correct.  If the Implant has dropped then the fold will need to be lifted.  Consult with a board Certified Plastic Surgeon.  Best wishes. 

Jeff Angobaldo, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 109 reviews

Implant position

It is an interesting topic and I do hear it sometimes. The problem can be from implants displaced too low. It would need a revision to lift the implants higher and into the correct location.

Frank J. Ferraro, MD
Paramus Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Nipple too high after breast lift

The typical nipple to fold distance depends largely upon the size of the implant that you have. That being said, do not despair.  Lowering the nipple cab almost definitely be performed.   Good luck.

Sacha Obaid, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 137 reviews

Nipples too High After Breast Lift / Implants

The “usual” distance from the nipple to the inframammary crease is 7 to 8 centimeters. It is possible to lower the position of your nipple – areola relative to the breast crease. Discuss this with your surgeon so your expectations will be realistic.

Fred Suess, MD (retired)
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 8 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.