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Blog. Nipple Reduction 101

It might feel just a bit cringe-worthy, we’ll give you that, but nipple reduction at our practice is actually very straightforward and worthwhile for those who choose it. Here are the basics you need to know.

1) Understanding terms

In daily conversation, we tend not to pay attention to using precise language. But it is helpful to know the right terms when talking with a plastic surgeon. The colored mass in the center of your breasts is known as the nipple-areola complex, or NAC. The areolas are the circles of darker tissue, and the nipple itself is the small, protruding structure right in the middle. We often use the term “nipple stalk” to be perfectly clear. Nipples that stick out significantly above the areolas are medically termed “hypertrophic nipples.”

2) Why it happens

We’ve seen guys end up with prominent nipples for a few reasons in our Boca Raton consultation room. Gynecomastia is one: when breasts grow, oftentimes the entire NAC expands too. Another condition we see on occasion is nipples that have become scarred and lumpy due to piercings. Still other times there is no known cause—just cases of variation outside the norm.

3) How we can help

If an enlarged NAC is due to gynecomastia, we advise patients to consider male breast reduction. If a guy has the kind of “puffy nipples” that are really the puffy NAC that bodybuilders often have, we explain that when we remove the excess breast gland underneath, the entire area will shrink. For guys whose lumpy nipples are due to scar tissue, it may be possible to administer steroid injections to shrink them back to a more normal appearance.

When the issue is indeed prominent nipples, whether they seem too large in diameter or stick out too far from the areola or both, we can reduce them with small incisions. We use dissolving stitches and the eventual scars are usually too small to be noticeable. The procedure is normally done under local anesthesia and takes less than an hour.

4) Recovery

After nipple reduction, some guys with non-strenuous jobs go right back to work. Others take a day off to relax. A bit of ointment and band aids are the only dressings required, and discomfort can usually be handled with Tylenol.

We do advise our South Florida nipple reduction patients to avoid strenuous activity for a few days. Too much too soon can cause strain on the stitches and unnecessary swelling.

Other Things to Know

If you have nipple pain, it’s worth a visit to your primary care physician. Most often the cause this kind of discomfort in guys is nothing serious, but not always. Seek evaluation right away if pain in your chest is accompanied by a lump or swelling. Read more input here.

In our view, it’s also worth considering the impact of protruding nipples on your quality of life. On one hand, you obviously know that there’s tremendous variation in all parts of the human body—nipples included. Even if you feel your nipples don’t really look like most others you see, you may be the only one who really notices.

On the other hand, the patients who choose nipple reduction in with us have felt embarrassed enough to take care of the issue. Some felt that the appearance of their chest was too feminine; others just did not like how their nipples poked out under t-shirts. And, given that the problem can be solved in a short office visit, these guys chose to take action.

If you’re on the fence, you might want to view some of our before and after nipple reduction photos. Then send us an email with any questions you have—we’ll get right back to you.


Dr. Elliot William Jacobs is a board-certified aesthetic plastic surgeon who specializes in FTM top surgery, gynecomastia surgery, revision gynecomastia surgery and male breast reduction. He is a native of New York and has over 40 years of experience in his field. Dr. Jacobs is a highly respected and sought-after surgeon who is known for his skill, experience, and compassion. Whether you are interested in gynecomastia for the first time, or are looking to correct a gynecomastia you aren’t happy with, Dr. Jacobs can deliver amazing results.


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