Men with abnormally puffy nipples/areolae suffer from one of the most common forms of gynecomastia (excessive breast growth). The condition becomes apparent when a collection of gland and/or fatty tissue gathers below the areola (or slightly beyond it). This deposit causes the areola to appear dome shaped and can lead men to feel discomfort and embarrassment.
Puffy nipples/areolae most commonly develop in young, adolescent adults, but the problem can affect other men as they grow into middle or older age. Most often the condition is caused by a hormonal imbalance, obesity or a combination of both of these factors. Teenagers who develop this due to obesity typically grow out of the problem over two or three years when adhering to a weight loss regimen involving exercise and a healthy diet.
In acute cases of gynecomastia, surgical correction may be the only way to resolve the problem. Research suggests that roughly 90% of puffy nipple/areola cases are caused by hormonal imbalances wherein the male body generates too much estrogen (a female hormone) and not enough androgen (a male hormone). Puffy nipples/areolae can affect one breast (unilateral) or both sides (bilateral) of the chest. Approximately a third of all cases of male gynecomastia are unilateral, and this rarely leads to bilateral development.
The use of specific medications (like Risperdal, an anti-psychotic), as well as steroid use for building muscle, has also been known to cause puffy nipples/areolae. If a man experiences this side effect he should speak to his physician and consider switching to a medication that has not been known to cause this issue. Gynecomastia that fails to resolve itself on its own afterward may be treated with hormonal drugs. Failing this approach, most doctors recommend surgery to treat the condition.
Surgical Male Nipple Reduction
Before scheduling the procedure, our Plastic Surgeon diagnoses the amount of firm breast tissue underneath the areola and determines how much of this tissue he can safely remove. Moderately pronounced nipple/areola puffiness is usually caused by this breast tissue and can be removed to create a flatter chest. Men with only minor gynecomastia typically aren’t suitable candidates for surgery.
To treat puffy areolae, your surgeon creates an incision that runs around the outside edge of the areola, along its lower half (where the dark areola meets the lighter chest skin). The approach taken depends on the severity of a patient’s condition. Dissolvable sutures are placed underneath the skin. These stitches work to both minimize scarring and keep patients from having to undergo suture removal as healing progresses.
The surgery itself is short (only one or two hours) and often requires less than a week for recovery. Large areolae often become smaller after glandular and/or adipose tissue has been removed during the procedure as well. This side effect is the result of the skin covering the chest muscles tightening through the treatment process.
Gynecomastia correction has a high success rate and leaves behind only minimal scarring.
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