Q: I am interested in making my nipples less prominent. I think they stick out too far and it can be embarrassing sometimes with different types of clothes and in colder weather. How big of a deal is it to go through and what is the recovery?
A: Nipple reduction surgery is really a very simple procedure. While nipples are undoubtably very sensitive, they can easily be made numb with a little injection of local anesthetic. The actual size of the nipple is quite small so the procedure is appropriately a minor operation. When done by itself, it is an office procedure that takes less than one hour for both nipples.
There are two basic nipple reduction techniques. Which one is best for any patient is determined by how much nipple reduction is needed and how much nipple sensation one wants to preserve. Either way, small dissolveable sutures are used so there is no need for a follow-up suture removal appointment. A small band-aid is used for the dressing. One can shower the next day and not be concerned about getting the area wet. A little dab of antibiotic ointment and a daily band-aid change is all that is needed for one week after surgery. There are no physical restrictions and one can return to running and working out the very next day. I would not, however, immerse the breast in a hot tub or swimming pool for at least one week after the procedure is done.
Nipple reduction surgery creates an immediate change. Even with the little bit of swelling that occurs, the change is readily apparent. Complete settling of the nipple takes about three weeks until its final shape and amount of residual projection is seen.
Dr. Barry Eppley