Nipple Reduction

Latest update: April 19, 2024
Medically reviewed by: Jordan Frey MD


Nipple reduction is a surgical procedure that aims to reduce the size of the nipple and its projection to make it proportionate to the areola. Once the nipple is shortened and reduced in width, the breast can appear more balanced and uniform. The procedure is most popular amongst women whose nipples change after breastfeeding and pregnancy. The surgery does not affect the ability to breastfeed in the future.

Nipple reduction takes an hour to complete. It usually requires local anesthetic. In more severe cases, surgeons may administer general anesthetic.

During the procedure, surgeons make incisions on the nipple and reshape the tissue to make it smaller and proportionate. Patients can request a combined operation with areola reduction, breast augmentation, breast lift or even a breast reduction.

Surgeons use two main methods for nipple reduction: the wedge and flap techniques. As its name suggests, the wedge technique will remove a wedge-shaped tissue from the nipple. Doctors then suture the sides of the nipple together to create a smaller nipple. The flap technique will first make an incision where the desired level of the nipple will be positioned. Surgeons remove the extra tissue, tuck in the flap and stitch up the reduced nipple. They will apply bandages to the nipple once the procedure is complete. 

During the recovery period, patients may experience some swelling. 

The permanent results are visible immediately. The nipple may change over time if the patient becomes pregnant or starts breastfeeding after the surgery. Nipple piercings will have to be redone after the surgery, but patients need to wait about three months for complete healing. The scars left from the surgery will be hidden and not visible. No significant recovery time is required, but patients will have to reduce strenuous activity for a month. As with most invasive procedures, nipple reduction comes with some rare risks.

These can include infections and blocked ducts. Patients can avoid them by ensuring appropriate aftercare.
Operation Time
Inpatient Period
Number of Appointments
Recovery Period
6 weeks

Nipple Reduction surgery - What does it involve

Adrian Richards, the Surgical Director of Aurora Clinics, discusses nipple reduction techniques. He explains that there are many issues that could arise depending on the part of the breast affected. He talks about the different types of procedures.