Nipple Surgery | Newport Beach | La Jolla, San Diego | Tim Sayed, MD, FACS

Nipple Surgery

Nipple Reconstruction - San Diego

Nipples come in many shapes and sizes. For some women, the nipple is excessively protuberant, while for others, it may be inverted or otherwise unaesthetic. Breast cancer patients may require nipple reconstruction to complete a process of restoring a truly feminine appearance to the breast. The areola (the pigmented area around the protruding nipple itself) may also be excessively large (or sometimes smaller than desired). Many of these conditions and variants can be improved by plastic surgery. Dr. Sayed, as a talented breast plastic surgeon with many years of experience with breast reconstruction and cosmetic breast surgery, has an array of methods at hand to help with concerning nipple-areolar findings. Many of these procedures may be done under local anesthesia or with a minimum of sedation in one of our available accredited facilities.

Some of the options available include:

  • Nipple reconstruction with flaps
  • Nipple reconstruction with “nipple sharing” technique
  • Nipple reduction
  • Areolar reduction
  • Areolar enlargement
  • Correction of inverted nipples
  • Raising of low areolas
  • Smoothing of swollen or bulging areolas
  • Improvement of peri- or circumareolar scars


View real patient before & after results in our photo gallery.

Nipple Surgery FAQ’s

Some of our selection criteria to include you as a nipple surgery candidate include:

  • Inverted nipples, large nipples, lack of nipple after breast cancer treatment, enlarged areolas, small areolas, or other nipple-areola concerns
  • General good health
  • No masses on breast examination – if you have a significant family history of breast cancer or are over 30 we will request a preoperative mammogram if you have not had one within a year
  • Nonsmoker or willing to commit to NO NICOTINE IN ANY FORM for at least 3 weeks preop and for the duration of your recovery
  • Available support system of friends, family, caregivers or others who can help you to keep your appointments, complete your preop and postop tasks, and emotionally bolster you through this exciting journey
  • Reasonable expectations of how much correction is possible with specific techniques

While this depends on the specific procedure, most nipple/areola operations take around a half an hour per side. Often this can be done under local anesthesia, although sedation and general anesthesia are also available to most patients with a medical clearance.

Most nipple procedures are performed either in the office or on an outpatient basis in a AAAASF-certified operating room, meaning the facility is up to very high standards of accreditation. Patients usually spend a short period recovering before being discharged in the care of a companion, family member or friend. Dr. Sayed gives a 24 hour phone number to all patients who can reach him for urgent questions, and we also issue access to a patient engagement application that allows the patient or companion/caregiver to send SMS messages, photos, video and other content to our team in a secure, private digital format. This keeps us mutually informed on your recovery and allows us to update your instructions while requiring a respectful number of face-to-face visits in the office.

Early postop recovery findings can include bruising and swelling, mild discomfort, discoloration of the nipple or areola, numbness or diminished sensation in the nipples, and some mental adjustment to the process of healing which most patients undergo. Most patients are advised to take a few days out of social circulation and we’d prefer that you not drive yourself in the first three to five days or as long as you are taking any prescription pain medication. Most sutures are dissolvable but there may be a few that need to be removed at around 14 days postop. You may be asked to wear a special protective splint on the nipple to allow it to heal without being subject to external pressure.

We ask that you abstain from exercise for 2 weeks and then return to light fitness routines after that. You will be asked to wear a surgical bra and avoid underwires for a few weeks, and it will be easiest for you if you wear tops that button down in the front in the first 10 days or so. Dr. Sayed and his team provide close postop care in the office and with our remote engagement tools. You will be asked to take some supplement medications to aid in your recovery, which may include medications for pain, bruising, swelling, and dietary optimization.

Some nipple procedures produce a permanent result. Some nipple reconstructions after breast cancer require time to settle, and some loss of projection can occur. Nipple inversion may recur in occasional patients, but this is usually treatable with a touch-up. Scar revisions, areolar reductions and other corrections for the areola often produce permanent, pleasing results. It is important to be realistic, however, as most breasts are not symmetrical by nature, so there may be slight differences between the two nipples and areolas even after attempts to make them as symmetric as possible.

  • Have a reasonable expectation of what surgery can accomplish
  • Don’t smoke or take nicotine in any form for at least 3 weeks and ideally longer before (and after) surgery
  • Stay well rested and well hydrated and eat a nutritious diet balanced with plenty of protein
  • If your diet is lacking in vitamins, take vitamin C and zinc supplementation but ask Dr. Sayed about other supplements. We have a list of ingredients we ask you to avoid in the immediate preop phase to optimize healing and minimize bleeding risk
  • Designate a caretaker who can help you through the first few days after your procedure
  • Identify whether any female relatives in your immediate family have any history of breast cancer

We don’t like to publish pricing as it is subject to market changes and dependent on the types of procedures you consider. We do have a fee schedule available in the office after your consultation, and we can give you an estimate through virtual consultation tools available on this site like our Zwivel® page. Feel free to contact us for a pre-consultation and we are happy to provide more information. The cost of your surgery will partly depend on where you have it, and whether you elect sedation or general anesthesia vs. local anesthesia.

Contact us today!

If you’re in the San Diego or Newport Beach areas and have any questions about Nipple Surgery or wish to schedule a consultation on nipple surgery with Dr. Sayed, please contact our office.