For many of our male patients in New York, gynecomastia is the main complaint. But we also see plenty of guys who are unhappy with their nipples, areolas or both. Fortunately, most conditions that bother men can be treated—read on to find out what you need to know about male nipples.
The term “nipple” is often used as shorthand for what doctors usually refer to as the “nipple-areola complex” or “nipple-areolar complex.” The nipple itself is the center that projects a bit from the skin surface (typically more so in women). The areola is the ring of darker skin that surrounds the nipple.
There is huge variation in the appearance of nipples and areolas, just like there is with any body part. With that in mind, if you feel your nipples and/or areolas just don’t seem “normal,” you may be suffering from one or more of the following conditions.
Occasionally we’ll meet a patient whose nipples stick out noticeably from the areola or seem unusually wide. Although this condition may very well fall within what doctors would consider normal, guys with prominent nipples often feel they look feminine. The good news is that it’s usually a fairly simple procedure to reduce male nipple height and width. We use dissolving sutures and scars are virtually invisible.
For many New York gynecomastia patients with moderate to severe cases, enlarged areolas come with the territory. There’s good news about this as well—as excess breast gland and fat is removed during male breast reduction, areolas shrink. For the rare patient with extremely large areolas, we remove an outer ring of the darker skin and place a permanent suture under the skin to ensure the areola doesn’t spread after surgery. This is an option we can explore in-depth during your consultation.
Puffy nipples in men are more common than you might think. The term is used to describe a dome-like appearance to the entire nipple-areola complex. You can have puffy nipples along with a case of gynecomastia, but we also see the condition in men who are otherwise slender throughout the chest.
Guys with puffy nipples usually have a nub of firm breast tissue directly under the areolas. When we perform surgery on puffy nipples, we use extra care to remove just enough tissue to allow the skin to lie flatter. Inexperienced cosmetic surgeons can be overzealous and inadvertently cause a crater deformity, which is a challenge to correct.
It is quite common for bodybuilders to develop gynecomastia because so many take steroids and other supplements that are well-known triggers of breast growth. Cases of enlarged breasts in bodybuilders sometimes look a bit similar too, because these guys tend to have little body fat and good muscle definition. In many cases, extra breast gland is localized in a small area or simply causes puffy nipples. Some men refer to this appearance as “bitch tits.”
For bodybuilders with gynecomastia
, we almost always make tiny incisions at the edge of the areolas to allow us to carefully remove breast tissue bit by bit. We may use liposuction tools as well, but since these patients don’t often need fat removal, we use the cannulas to re-drape the skin without suction. Bodybuilders can rest assured that the resulting masculine contours will be permanent, provided they are willing to forego steroids, hormones and untested supplements in the future.
If you have had your nipples pierced, there’s a chance that scar tissue may now cause them to look misshapen. Sometimes, scars protrude and cause a “dumbbell” appearance to the nipple. We find that careful injections of cortisone can often help reduce this tissue.
What’s Right for You?
If you haven’t thought much about it before, by now you have a sense of just how much nipples and areolas can vary from one guy to the next. This is exactly why a consultation with an experienced gynecomastia surgeon
can be so helpful for someone who’s bothered by his appearance. If you come in to see us, we can show you hundreds of before and after gynecomastia photos
and give you a good sense of how your chest compares. We can also have a discussion about what’s behind your enlarged nipples and/or areolas and what your options are. Then you can decide if and how to proceed.
We look forward to meeting you!