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Nipple and Areola Surgery

The nipple is the protruding portion in the centre of the areola that carries the lactiferous (milk) ducts. Nipple surgery is a procedure that addresses inverted, ptotic, long, or large nipples. The surgery involves manipulation or removal of excess tissue in the region to create a size, shape and orientation.

The areola, the darker pigmented circle of skin around the nipple, may become enlarged or puffy. In an areola reduction, excess pigmented skin is trimmed and removed.

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Causes of an Inverted Nipple

Inverted nipples are usually a result of an underdeveloped, short or thickened lactiferous duct or milk duct. When these milk ducts are shortened they pull on the nipple and cause it to retract inwards. Inverted nipples are usually genetic.

A nipple can be permanently inverted, or a nipple may be temporarily inverted and can reverse itself with stimulation or changes in temperature.


  • Grade 1: The nipple can be everted and easily maintain projection.
  • Grade 2: The nipple can be everted but cannot maintain projection.
  • Grade 3: The nipple cannot be everted.
inigo blog image | Inigo Cosmetic

An areolar or nipple surgery may be performed on its own or combined with other procedures, such as Breast Augmentation or Breast Lift.

Addressing Inverted Nipples

Depending on the degree of inversion, Dr Ian Chinsee may cut around the milk ducts, or through the milk ducts. If the milk ducts are cut, it will usually have an impact on your ability to breastfeed.

While an inverted nipple is not inherently dangerous, if you have a nipple that suddenly inverts for no reason, be sure to visit your doctor. In rare cases, this may be a sign of breast cancer.

Recovery from Nipple or Areola Correction Surgery

While recovery varies from patient to patient, most patients describe the sensation as mild aches and pressure rather than pain. Weendeavour toensure your post-operative comfort with oral pain medication prescribed after the procedure.

Following the operation, patients will require dressing changes at weekly intervals. We provide Out of Town Patients with a letter containing detailed dressing change instructions to give to their GP if dressing change appointments cannot be attended at the Brisbane clinic. 

Most patients should expect to take around one to two weeks off work. Patients with office jobs can usually return to work after one week; however, more physically demanding jobs may require a longer recovery period. You can usually resume normal activities, including gym exercises, by six weeks. 

Patients will experience swelling, and there may be bruising after the procedure. Major swelling usually subsides by three months, and the results are noticeable at around the one-year mark. A compression bra will need to be worn continuously for six weeks following surgery. 

We will schedule post-operative appointments throughout the following year. These appointments can be conducted via our Virtual Clinic or in person at our James St clinic. 


0.5 – 1 hours


Day surgery


General or local


Required at weeks 1, 2, & 3


2 – 5 days


None for 6 weeks


Worn for 6 weeks


6 weeks

Scarring from Nipple or Areola Surgery

With the aim to minimise scarring as much as possible, the incisions are placed discreetly around the outer edge of the areola or nipple to help blend in with the pigmented skin and natural skin of the breast.

While Dr Chinsee will use surgical techniques to reduce scarring, the appearance of your scars ultimately comes down to how your body heals, genetics and post care. Your surgical scars should fade over time with appropriate postoperative care and can be further minimised with post-procedure treatment. There is always a risk of further stretching, pigmentation and hypertrophic scarring.

Please visit Scarring After Surgery for more information.

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Depending on the degree of inversion (usually Grade 1 or 2), the implant may be sufficient to support the nipple in an everted position.

Breastfeeding may be more difficult because the baby might have difficulty latching on to the nipple despite the milk ducts working properly. However, pregnancy may also result in nipple eversion in Grades 1 or 2 due to overall swelling of the breast.

Although an inverted nipple isn’t inherently dangerous, if you have a nipple that suddenly inverts for no reason be sure to visit your doctor – in rare cases this may be a sign of breast cancer.

Getting your nipple pierced can sometimes correct an inverted nipple – the jewellery may help stretch the ducts and may keep your nipple in an everted position. This isn’t always permanent, and the nipples will usually retract once the piercing is removed. Additionally, the trauma of the piercing may create additional scar tissue that which may make the inversion worse.

If you also have breast implants, please keep in mind that piercings and breast implants are not a recommended combination. Read our blog post on Nipple Piercings and Breast Implants.

The cost of your areola/nipple surgery can be broken down into three main components: the operating doctor’s fee, anaesthetist fees and hospital/clinic fees. At Inigo Cosmetic, we customise our surgeries to each patient. To receive a detailed cost breakdown, please book a consultation with Dr Chinsee.