What Is Areola Reduction? Can It Work With Other Breast Surgeries? By Robert Singer on March 29, 2024

Woman in a turtleneck sweater

When many people consider breast enhancement options, they typically think about breast augmentation and breast implants. Yet my La Jolla plastic surgery center also receives questions about procedures that could enhance the appearance of the areolas.

In this blog post, I'd like to focus on areola reduction surgery. But before looking into the surgical procedure itself, it's worth covering the causes of aesthetic issues with the areolas. If you'd like more information about surgery or are interested in speaking with a board-certified plastic surgeon based in San Diego, reach out to my practice today.


The Causes of Large or Asymmetrical Areolas

Large areolas have a number of potential causes. Below are some of the most common ones.


Your genes play a major role in your overall appearance, which includes the prominence and color of your areolas.

Adolescence and Aging

Puberty and menopause can both lead to changes in the size and volume of the breasts. During adolescence, the development of the breasts tends to cause the areolas to expand as well. Conversely, the reduced estrogen levels experienced during menopause can cause the areolas to shrink.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Pregnancy and breastfeeding can cause temporary changes to the size of the areolas. The areolas will usually return to their pre-pregnancy appearance after breastfeeding, but issues may persist afterwards for some people.

Weight Fluctuations

As people gain weight, the breast tissue increases, stretching the skin of the chest. This can cause increases in areola size.

Whatever the cause, you can come to my La Jolla cosmetic surgery center to express your concerns and discuss your options for treatment.


Upper torso and chest of a woman in a bathing suit

The Areola Reduction Procedure

Areola reduction surgery is a relatively short procedure that can be completed in about an hour. Patients will not be conscious during surgery.

An incision is made around the rim of the areola. Another incision is made within that initial incision, creating a donut shape. The donut-shaped outer area of the areola is removed, leaving a smaller portion of the areola skin around the nipple intact.

Sutures are then used to pull the breast skin in tighter to create a smaller areola.

Will There Be Scarring After Areola Reduction?

With proper incision technique and placement, post-surgical scarring from areola reduction can be well concealed. In many cases, the scar is hidden by the darker natural pigmentation of the smaller areola.

Determining Candidacy and Planning Treatment

As part of the consultation process, we can assess your health and provide answers to any questions you have about the surgery. We can also determine if you are susceptible to keloid scars or other issues with scar tissue that could affect the approach to surgery and final outcomes.

Combining Areola Reduction With Different Breast Surgeries

You can get the areola reduction procedure performed on its own, though we can also combine the procedure with other breast enhancement surgeries at our La Jolla plastic surgery center.

Combined Areola Reduction With Breast Augmentation

When combined with breast augmentation, I can use a periareolar incision method to insert the implants. The periareolar incision technique works quite well with areola reduction.

Combined Areola Reduction With Breast Lift

When performing breast lift surgery to treat drooping or sagging breasts, an incision is typically made around the areola as well as the underside of the breast. This is a great opportunity to reduce the size of areolas or improve their shape and symmetry.

Combined Areola Reduction With Breast Reduction

Many breast reduction surgery procedures use the same incisions as a breast lift to remove excess tissue. Again, this is an excellent opportunity to address any concerns about the size, shape, or symmetry of the areolas.

If you're interested in breast enlargement, reduction, or lift, the team at my La Jolla plastic surgery office can also discuss the potential for areola reduction.


Shirtless man lounging by a swimming pool

Areola Reduction as Part of Male Breast Reduction

We've predominantly focused on areola size concerns affecting women, but these issues can also affect men. This is particularly true for men who carry more weight or experience a condition known as gynecomastia, which involves enlargement of the male chest. For men with enlarged chests, the appearance of large areolas can be a source of embarrassment.

My office in La Jolla offers male breast reduction surgery for gynecomastia, which can remove excess fat and glandular tissue to achieve a more masculine chest. We can also reshape the areolas as part of the surgical process.

Areola Reduction as Part of a Mommy Makeover

We mentioned above that pregnancy and nursing can both contribute to changes in the size of the areolas. Both of these can also alter the contours of your abdominal area, the perkiness of your breasts, and the overall look of other parts of the body.

In such cases, we may perform areola reduction as part of mommy makeover surgery after pregnancy and childbirth. This combination of procedures includes tummy tuck and other body contouring surgeries that can restore mothers to their pre-pregnancy appearance and even enhance their appearance as well.

The Lasting Benefits of Areola Reduction

Whether areola reduction is performed on its own or combined without another surgical procedure, the results can be exceptional. The lasting results achieved from areola reduction may help you wear different kinds of outfits or swimming attire.

Many patients who've undergone the surgery experience improved self-image and self-confidence. Since scarring is difficult to detect, there is little self-consciousness about visible scars while being intimate with someone or just walking shirtless on the beach or by the pool.

Have Questions About Breast Surgery?

Request a Consultation to Get the Answers You Want

Want to learn more about areola reduction and if it's right for you? I encourage you to contact my La Jolla plastic surgery office. As a board-certified plastic surgeon practicing for more than four decades, I can provide expert insight into your surgical candidacy and your options for treatment.



Robert Singer, MD

About Robert Singer, MD
Dr. Robert Singer is a board-certified plastic surgeon who has helped patients since 1976. A former president of the California Society of Plastic Surgeons, the San Diego Plastic Surgery Society, and the Aesthetic Surgery Education and Research Foundation, Dr. Singer remains an internationally recognized authority in the field.

Read Dr. Singer's Full Bio | All Posts by Robert Singer

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Dr. Robert Singer

Robert Singer, M.D.

Dr. Robert Singer is a board-certified plastic surgeon and former President and Chair of the Board of Trustees of The Aesthetic Society who gives his patients life-changing results. His technical mastery and artistic sensibilities have helped thousands of patients achieve natural-looking rejuvenation through facelifts and other complex procedures. Dr. Singer is a member of several prestigious organizations, including:

  • Aesthetic Surgery Education and Research Foundation, Founder and Prior President
  • QUAD A, Prior President
  • San Diego Plastic Surgery Society, Prior President
  • California Society of Plastic Surgeons, Prior President
  • Chosen by his peers as the inaugural visiting professor of California Society of Plastic Surgeons (CSPS) for all academic plastic surgery programs in California: UC Davis, UC San Diego, UC San Francisco, Loma Linda University, Stanford University, UC Irvine and USC
  • American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Prior Chairman of the Board of Trustees
  • International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, Member of numerous task forces including Patient Safety
  • American College of Surgeons 

To discover what Dr. Singer can do for you, request your consultation online or call his plastic surgery practice at (858) 455-0290.

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