What happens to your Nipples During Breast Surgery?


Are your breasts too large or heavy for your comfort?  You may be a good candidate for Breast Reduction, Uplift and Nipple Surgery (a nipple lift). This surgery reduces cup size AND re-positions your nipples more centrally on your breast to improve your breast shape. But what ARE your nipple surgery OPTIONS, exactly?

What happens to your Nipples when you get a Reduction or breast lift?

First, be sure you’ve read the BREAST REDUCTION SURGERY page for procedure information and downloaded a guide so you know more about the surgery. But in general, what happens to your NIPPLE shape and position during Breast Reduction surgery is as follows:

  • you will discuss your CURRENT nipple shape and location (position) with your Surgeon during your Breast Reduction/Breast lift consult.
  • when you discuss the optimal breast reduction SIZE (often in terms of percentage of volume reduction OR in terms of desired cup size changes) your Surgeon will also ask you about your nipple preferences
  • during surgery, your Surgeon will then surgically re-shape your nipples, often to a smaller or more rounded appearance
  • then position them on your newly reshaped, smaller breast mounds – this is all part of the breast reduction and lift, and your Surgeon takes care to avoid disrupting nipple function
  • the sutures around your nipples tend to fade into the outer ridge of the nipple, but this can vary from patient to patient
  • you’ll also have a scar down the front of your breast, if using a le jour reduction technique, and it’s important to wear the post-op garments as instructed to keep your scars as minimal as possible

Remember, there ARE risks to all breast surgery AND results can vary significantly from patient to patient.

Nipple Surgery

The main objective of most nipple surgery, performed on its own or included with a Breast Reduction and uplift, is to REPOSITION the nipples more centrally on the breast mound (but in a natural looking way).

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Get the Guide to Nipple Surgery and Breast Resizing!


  • If you are considering breast reduction surgery, you probably know that your breasts will be reduced in volume
    • surgically and
    • via liposuction for selected patients.
  • Your breasts will also be uplifted and nipples reshaped and moved
  • This means your nipples will end up higher on your chest instead of drooping or pointing downwards.
  • Optional: Sometimes even the colour of nipples may be changed with certain procedures (your Surgeon can discuss your options for non-surgical changes in terms of colour, but the reshaping can be done through surgery as part of a Breast Lift or Breast Reduction procedure).


Benefit of Nipple Reshaping and Re-positioning during Breast Reduction or Uplift Procedures

This gives your breasts AND nipples an enhanced appearance where they might otherwise sag, droop, flop or or spray out to the side when you’re lying down.

Pregnancy, Breast Feeding and Weight Change can ALL impact where your nipples sit on your breasts. Surgery can reshape and resize your nipples to make them more symmetrical, rounder or smaller if they currently appear misshapen or overly enlarged.

Sagging nipples give an indication to JUST HOW MUCH your breasts are suffering from ptosis.

What is Breast Ptosis?

  • Breast Ptosis is a benign condition that may be treated surgically.
  • It does, however, often lead to chronic skin infections, back pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, bra strap dig-ins to the skin surface and other discomforts.
  • For many women wanting to reduce their breast size, their motivations are health related.
  • Depending on the degree of breast ptosis and whether or not you meet certain eligibility criteria, corrective breast surgery to remedy Breast Ptosis may even qualify for a small rebate from Medicare in Australia.
  • Often, Breast Lift Surgery with Nipple Reshaping is part of a Breast Reduction procedure.
  • For some patients with breast ptosis but no excess of volume, the Breast Lift may be performed on its own or with an Augmentation using a breast prosthesis.


It all depends on your preferences for size and shape and how much the skin envelope has stretched.

Communication with your Selected Breast Surgeon is a great way to start the discovery process. Find out what YOUR breasts and nipples can look like after surgery by arranging a consultation today – phone (03) 8849 1444 and ask to see one of our leading Melbourne Breast Surgery experts. 

This blog is best read in conjunction with our Breast Reduction procedure page.


Nipple Surgery in Brief

Nipple Reshaping & Positioning During a Breast Reduction: Snapshot of what happens in Surgery

  • The nipple aerolar complex or “NAC” IS surgically relocated during a breast lift or breast reduction.
  • Incisions are made around the nipple aerolar complex and nipples are resized to be more even or symmetrical or rounded in shape
  • Care is taken during nipple surgery to help keep the function and skin of the nipple intact.
  • Many women have been able to breast feed after surgery BUT your chances are improved when you choose a very experienced Surgeon who is careful to protect the nipple areas (such as Dr Rubinstein and his esteemed colleagues at Cosmetic Surgery for Women).


Nipple Surgery RISKS

Does having breast reduction risk the Nipple Area or breastfeeding?

The nipple aereola complex area is shown in the diagram shown below. (Source: http://pubs.rsna.org/doi/pdf/10.1148/rg.292085128).

  • Nipple surgery and breast reduction IS complex and all invasive surgery has risks.
  • Surgery MAY impact on nipple function; however, some risks can be reduced by choosing the best qualified Surgeon for the procedure.
  • Although no guarantee nipple function will remain intact, a good Plastic Surgeon will aim to minimise changes to your nipple function during Breast Reduction or Breast Lift Surgery.
  • But if you choose a cheap surgeon who has less experience or isn’t a FRACS qualified specialist, you could end up with some serious nipple problems – and not everything can be fixed.

So choose your Surgeon wisely (our team are widely regarded Specialists in Breast Reduction Procedures including nipple reshaping) AND do your research. Be sure you read the Breast Surgery GUIDES.


Breast Surgery and Nipple Reshaping – Options

  • A breast reduction OFTEN includes nipple reshaping when desired
  • The nipple is lifted or elevated in location, to a more central position, to reduce ptosis (sagging or drooping)
  • Sutures usually blend in with the outer edge/outer circle or oval of the NAC.

Good communication with your Plastic Surgeon is required to get the nipple appearance or reshaping you seek through breast surgery.

The existing shape, size, colour AND nipple aerolar complex position – along with your overall chest anatomy and skin – will impact your ultimate nipple surgery results.

  • Be sure you keep your expectations realistic.
  • Have GOOD communication with your Surgeon about your preferences for nipple shape, placement, size and/or appearance.
  • You should let your Surgeon know your preferences for nipple size, location and shape to get a result you’re happy with.

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  • If you LIKE the existing shape and size of your nipples, be sure to tell your Surgeon.
  • If yes, these can remain the same for some patients, but they will be repositioned.
  • Once located higher on the chest wall, they may have a different appearance as well as position.

Should you change your breasts or nipple size?

  • Are you tired of hiding behind certain types of fashions?
  • Do you frequently find yourself being socially harassed by unwarranted or insensitive comments about your breast size?
  • Do you find it difficult to exercise or find bras that fit?

If you’ve always wanted the freedoms of smaller, more centrally positioned breasts and nipples that face forward instead of downwards.

If so, a Breast Reduction combined with a Breast Lift Surgery may be your best solution.

Read our Breast Reduction pages for more information about what happens to your nipples during Breast Reduction surgery.


Nipple Incisions during Nipple Surgery

Incisions can vary depending on the type of surgery you’re having.

Ask your Surgeon which methods they use – the Le Jour incision technique or “Le Jour Lollipop” Breast lift and Breast Reduction incision strategy is a great technique to minimise scars after Breast Reduction and gets excellent results for most patients.

The nipple area will have a scar after surgery. However, for many women, the scar around the nipple fades or blends into the outer edge of the NAC.

Most patients sharing their experiences on public forums rate their satisfaction with Breast Reduction as very high to high.

Specialist Breast Reduction Surgery is actually one of our Focus Areas for Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery in Melbourne.

Our Team’s top Specialist Plastic Surgeons for Breast Lift and Breast Reduction Surgery include:

Dr Craig RubinsteinDr Geoff Barnett, Dr Rebecca Wyten, Dr Richard Maxwell, and Dr Douglas McManamny.

Visit our Breast Reduction pages for details.

Our Team also focuses on other breast procedures and body contouring surgery, including liposuction and Tummy Tucks, post-pregnancy body makeovers, facial surgery and nose reshaping Rhinoplasty surgery.

Ask us about the MUMMY MAKEOVER surgery (combined procedures for Breast & Tummy Tuck Surgery).

Why stay limited to carrying heavy breasts, when a long-term surgical solution can help reduce the size of large breasts and lighten up your upper half for the rest of your lifetime?

Find out which Specialist SURGEON in Melbourne is best for your Breast Reduction/Breast Lift procedure by phoning our team on (03) 8849 1444.

Our Patient Care Coordinators can help you determine which Surgeon or Hospital is right for your Breast Surgery.

Send an enquiry today or phoning our Patient Care Coordinators on (03) 8849 1444 today.

You can also read patient experiences of their breast reduction surgeries on our Best Plastic Surgery & Cosmetic Procedures information BLOG.  Another great blog worth reading about Breast Reduction surgery is “Will Medicare Cover my Breast Reduction Surgery“.

You don’t want to risk having to get Revision Surgery when you waited so long to get your Breast Reduction.

Always choose a highly-experienced, qualified Plastic Surgeon for Breast Reduction Surgery.

You can also find many articles on breast reduction surgery and surgery recovery on our BLOG.  Just search the recent articles including Celebrity Breast Reductions, the Rise of Teenage Breast Reduction Surgery Requests and Post-Surgery Recovery Tips.

Send an enquiry form today or phone a Patient Care Coordinator on (03) 8849 1444.

Visit our Downloadable Guides pages

For more information about Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery options and research in Australia.

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Download our free guides or phone (03) 8849 1444 today – and ask for a no-obligation consultation.

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Michelle Staughton
Michelle Staughton is a Patient Education Interviewer and Patient Care Coordinator for several top Plastic Surgeons in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. With over FOUR years’ experience helping plastic surgery patients at Cosmetic Surgery for Women and Men, after having been a patient herself, Michelle offers a wealth of knowledge to help surgical patients with cosmetic and plastic surgery planning and recovery tips.