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Nipple Surgery: Learn More About Breast Augmentation

Oct 9, 2007
Nipple augmentation is a plastic surgery procedure to improve nipple size and appearance in both men and women. This surgery is often a follow-up procedure performed after breast augmentation, breast lift, or reconstructive surgery.

Is Nipple Surgery Right for Me?

The best candidates for nipple surgery include patients with the following appearance:

1) Asymmetry: Caused by breast surgery or the natural aging process that changes the shape of the breast and the location of the nipple; or nipples with uneven lines.

2) Inverted nipple: Lack of tissue that shows as an indented appearance of the areola.

3) Enlarged Nipple: Excessive tissue in the areola that may protrude above the skin or nipple. The areola size may appear too large or long for the rest of the breast.

Nipple surgery may be needed after a breast augmentation or reconstruction procedure. The nipple can also be affected during breast lift surgery. Candidates who plan to breastfeed may not be appropriate for certain techniques.

The surgical procedure and technique recommended can vary among treatment providers. For example, repair for herniation of the nipple may be considered an extensive procedure with one doctor and not with another doctor.

Your doctor may also recommend less invasive procedures. For example, micropigmentation may be recommended to refine the uneven appearance or discoloration of a nipple. A consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon is the most effective way to decide if nipple surgery is the right choice.

During your consultation, the doctor will complete a medical evaluation. The doctor will give you a list of instructions to follow before the procedure. These instructions can include no eating or drinking after midnight, an antibiotic for both before and after the procedure, ceasing of certain medications, and to have someone drive you home after the procedure.

The Procedure

The procedure may be performed at the doctor's office, outpatient surgery center, or hospital. Time in surgery is about an hour. The procedure may be performed under local anesthesia, while you are sedated, numbed, and awake -- or general anesthesia, while you are asleep. Patients return home the same day.

During the procedure, an incision will be made either on the nipple itself or in the areola. In some cases (such as an enlarged nipple), excess skin may be removed before the incision is closed. In other cases, the surgeon will lift the area around the incision and reposition it. A bandage will be applied to reduce swelling and discomfort.

After Surgery

Recovery from nipple surgery is usually minimal. Most procedures use local anesthesia, which reduces recovery time. Some swelling and bruising may occur, but the discomfort usually subsides within a few days. Patients may experience pain in the nipple area which can be treated with oral medications. Many patients need medication for only a day or two.

You may experience hypersensitivity after surgery, but this usually resolves itself during the months after the surgery. Patients are advised to refrain from strenuous activity for two or more weeks after the procedure. Your doctor should provide a post-op instruction list to reduce the risk of complications. The results of the procedure may not be apparent for several months.

Complications and Risks

Complications can occur with any medical procedure. The type of technique used in surgery and the type of anesthesia can have an impact on risk. One of the most common but infrequent complications is infection that requires antibiotic treatment.

Bleeding may produce excessive bruising or a hematoma (blood clot), which requires physician intervention and leads to a longer recovery. Nerve damage is one of the worst, but rare complications.

Often, nerve damage is temporary, resolving itself after six months or more. Scarring may be evident. The doctor may prescribe medication to reduce scarring.

There may be other risks, which you should discuss with your doctor.

Nipple Surgery Average Costs

Fees for nipple surgery can range from $1,600 to $2,500.

If the cost of the nipple surgery is difficult for you, ask your surgeon about payment plans and medical finance options. Most cosmetic plastic surgery offices provide consumer-friendly payment plans that allow you to make monthly payments.

There are also several medical finance companies, many of which offer flexible payment options and a variety of plans.
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