Breast aesthetics isn’t just about breast size. Nipples and areolae form a huge part of how the breasts look. Although not everyone will see them, women may still feel embarrassed about having less than perfect peaks.
Issues like having inverted nipples or large and prominent ones make women so self-conscious that they’re afraid to get intimate with their partners. The fear of being judged cripples them so much that they don’t even enjoy looking at their bare bodies in the mirror.
If you’re feeling this way, you have the option to make changes to your body to feel more confident about it.
In this article, we’ll talk about how the ideal nipple and areola should look like and the common nipple problems of women. Keep reading to learn more about these problems and how one of SoCal’s top board-certified plastic surgeons can help you solve these issues.
All About Nipple and Areola Beauty
There are two main factors affecting nipple and areola beauty: their size and placement.
In a 2009 study that examined the breasts of 300 women, the average nipple diameter is 1.3 cm. For the height, it’s 0.9 cm. Meanwhile, the generally accepted average areola size is 5 cm.
The ideal nipple-areola complex position was determined in a study in 2016. According to a survey completed by 813 participants, the perfect nipple areola position is in the middle of the breast gland vertically and just a little off midpoint horizontally.
Though as many as 20% of women have inverted nipples, most women want protruding peaks as these are considered normal.
Common Nipple Issues and How to Solve Them
Large and Prominent Nipples
For most women with this issue, breastfeeding is the most common culprit of hypertrophic or oversized nipples. But for others, it could be caused by genetics.
Because of the repetitive suction that happens when nursing a child, the nipples can hang, point downward, and become enlarged.
Regardless of the cause, enlarged nipples may be more than an aesthetic issue. At best, they’d simply be visible under your shirt. At worst, it might cause chafing and irritation because they rub against your clothes.
If this is something you’re dealing with, it can be corrected with nipple reduction surgery. Nipples can be reduced circumferentially to reduce their diameter or vertically to reduce their height or both.
Nipple reduction is a minor surgery and is undertaken under local anesthesia. After numbing the nipples, Dr. Agha will make a small incision around the nipple to take out excess tissue circumferentially or vertically, improving your nipple appearance. He will then close the incision.
You may also get other breast procedures such as breast augmentation, areola reduction surgery, and breast lift to achieve even better results.
Normal breasts typically have protruding nipples. But when the mammary ducts connecting the nipple to the mammary glands are tight, it causes the nipples to be pulled inwards, thus resulting in inverted nipples. Having inverted nipples is not that rare—around 10% to 20% of the female population possess such nipples. Still, a lot of women feel insecure about them.
The severity of inversion comes in varying degrees:
- Level 1. At this level, your nipples still temporarily protrude when stimulated. However, they go back to their natural inversion when the stimulation is removed.
- Level 2. The nipples remain inverted regardless of the presence of stimulation. However, you can make them protrude by pulling them out without much resistance.
- Level 3. This is the most severe form of inversion. The nipples don’t respond to stimulation and will not come out at all. Level 3 usually happens when the tissues are constricted or if there’s scarring involved.
For most women, having inverted nipples is just genetics at play and isn’t a sign of a serious medical issue. Apart from self-confidence issues arising from not having protruding nipples, breastfeeding can also be problematic later on.
Thankfully, this issue may be corrected through nipple inversion correction. Nipple inversion correction is a minor procedure designed to permanently correct inverted nipples on one or both of your breasts.
First, Dr. Agha injects a numbing medication into the nipple area. He then creates incisions at the base of the nipple through which the connective tissue bands are released. To complete the procedure, Dr. Agha uses a marionette stitch to keep everything secure while you recover. Apart from the marionette stitch, Dr. Agha will also give you a donut dressing and waterproof cover to improve your healing and prevent infection.
As a result, this procedure can improve the appearance of your nipples by releasing the connective tissue bands that pull your nipples inward, thus making them point outward and improving your self-confidence in the process.
Also called the third nipple, supernumerary nipples are usually smaller than your regular nipples. You may also have more than one “third nipple.” In some cases, the patient has up to eight of these!
Because not all third nipples look the same, some may not even know they have them.
Although they can be unsightly and even embarrassing for some, they usually don’t require medical intervention. But if you still want to address this typically harmless issue, you may get surgical excision to remove supernumerary nipples permanently.
This outpatient procedure is similar to having a mole removed. It may be completed within an hour under local anesthesia.
However, depending on the category where your case falls, Dr. Agha may recommend additional procedures.
Areola Irregularity or Asymmetry
Asymmetry happens when there’s a difference in shape or diameter between the two areolae. Although some degree of asymmetry on the areola is normal and harmless, it can still be bothersome.
For others, the areola size itself may be the cause for concern. Large areolae may look out of proportion to the breasts, but they can quickly be resolved with areola reduction surgery.
This surgery involves removing a donut-shaped piece of your areola by creating two incisions: one along the areola’s existing border and another representing your desired areola size post-surgery.
The outer incision is then cinched around the inner one in a purse-string manner using permanent sutures.
How Do You Recover from a Nipple Areola Surgery?
Since nipple and/or areola correction is a minor procedure, you may go home immediately after the procedure.
After the local anesthesia wears off, you may experience swelling and discomfort, for which you can take mild painkillers.
In most cases, you may go back to work the next day as long as your job isn’t physically demanding.
At your follow-up visit a week after the procedure, the stitches will be removed. Your doctor may replace the dressings
You can start exercising after two to three weeks. Though you’re already considered fully recovered by the fourth week, it may take up to six weeks for your nipple sensation to return to normal.
You may also feel a mild firmness for up to three months post-op
Get Your Ideal Nipples at Los Angeles and Orange County
Your nipples and areolas are just as crucial to breast aesthetics as size is. If you suffer from any identified common nipple issues, you don’t have to live with it forever. You deserve to feel confident about your boobs even without clothes on!
Addressing the issue with the corresponding plastic surgery can help you do just that.
To get the best results from the procedure, go with a highly qualified and board-certified plastic surgeon like Dr. Siamak Agha. With his experience in the field, he can recommend procedures that will give you your desired results.
Book your consultation with Dr. Agha today to discover how his expertise can help you achieve the perfect nipples and breasts you want.