Hi Dr. Kelly:
After my pregnancy, my areolas got much bigger. Can that be corrected?
Response. Yes, the procedure you are looking for is called an areola reduction. Outwardly, that would seem pretty simple. All you need to do is remove an outer doughnut shaped section of areola, and close the incision by moving the outer incision edge inward to the outer edge of the new smaller areola.
Unfortunately, simple excision and closure like that usually leads to widened scars, and areolas that aren’t round. In addition, if the tension is excessive, the new areola can gradually grow as big as the original over time.
The key to a successful, lasting result is dealing with tension. To do that, one needs to undermine all of the surrounding skin so it moves easily to the new smaller areola size. Then to stabilize that repair, a permanent suture made of Gore-Tex is placed via an “interlocking” repair.
The interlocking repair means that the suture is run back and forth between skin and areola like the spokes of a wheel. When it is tied down, the outer skin moves inward to the new smaller areola in a strong, controlled fashion. The superficial skin incision can then be closed with a dissolvable suture under no tension. This produces a thin scar and the underlying strong areolar repair maintains its shape over time. This prevents recurrent expansion of the areola.
While outwardly appearing easy, successful areola reduction requires an experienced surgeon who is familiar with the interlocking technique who can judge the appropriate amount of tension for the repair. Under those circumstances, the answer is “yes,” your areolas can be reduced.
About Dr. Kelly
Dr. Kelly is a board-certified Plastic Surgeon and partner in both Miami Plastic Surgery and MPS MedSpa. He has been in practice over 25 years and has been recognized by his peers both nationally and internationally as one of the best plastic surgeons in the United States. In addition to being an expert on Cosmetic Surgery, his practice encompasses the entire spectrum of non-invasive treatments such as Botox, fillers, CoolSculpting, ultrasound, lasers and radio-frequency.
He also believes in giving back to our community, having served on the Village Council for eight years and volunteering as a coach for our youth sports programs. You can email him questions at email@example.com.