Skip to Content

Do nipples get bigger after implants?

Many women who get breast implants wonder if their nipples will change in size or appearance afterwards. Nipples naturally come in a wide range of shapes and sizes. However, it’s a common concern that breast augmentation could make nipples look larger or more pronounced. In this article, we’ll look at the research on how nipples are impacted by breast implants. We’ll also overview the key factors that affect nipple size and appearance before and after augmentation.

Do breast implants make nipples bigger?

The short answer is no, breast implants do not directly make nipples bigger or larger in diameter. During breast augmentation, the implant is placed either under or over the chest muscle. This is located beneath the breast gland tissue and does not involve surgical changes to the nipple itself.

However, many women report that their nipples appear larger or more protrusive after getting implants. There are a few reasons why implants can seemingly enlarge the look of nipples:

  • The contrast between the nipple and augmented breast size makes the nipple more noticeable.
  • If breast implants provide extra volume in the upper pole of the breast, it can push the nipple outward.
  • Larger breasts mean the nipple now represents a smaller portion of total breast size.

So while the nipple itself is technically the same size, it can seem enlarged compared to the new, larger breast mound.

Key factors that influence nipple size

Several variables impact the appearance of nipples both before and after implants:

Existing breast and nipple size

Women with naturally small, modest breasts tend to have more noticeable nipples pre-surgery. After getting implants, the nipples seem even more protrusive by comparison to the newly augmented breast. Women with medium or large natural breasts see less of a contrast.

Placement of the implant

Subglandular placement (over the muscle) tends to make nipples look more pronounced. This is because there is less soft tissue between the implant and nipple, causing more outward projection.

Submuscular placement (under the chest muscle) causes less nipple protrusion. The muscle helps minimize the pushing outward of the nipple by the implant.

Implant size

Larger implants can make the nipples appear bigger compared to the overall breast. Moderate implant sizes match the scale of the nipple aesthetically.

Incision location

The incision used to place the implants can impact nipple position. An incision around the areola (periareolar) may cause the nipple to project more. Other incision sites like inframammary or transaxillary have less effect.

Tightness of the breast skin

Women with firm, elastic skin quality experience less nipple protrusion with implants. When breast skin is very tight, the nipple is held flat against the augmented breast mound.

Lax skin causes more visible and sometimes elongated nipples with implants. The looser skin exerts less compression to keep nipples hugged close to the breast.

Changes in nipple sensitivity

Some women notice changes in nipple sensitivity after getting breast implants. Increased sensitivity is often related to nerve damage during surgery. It usually resolves within a few months as the nerves heal.

Decreased sensation can occur if incisions cut nerves innervating the nipples. Loss of sensitivity may be temporary or permanent.

Many women also report no noticeable change in nipple or breast sensitivity after augmentation.

Can the areola get bigger with implants?

The diameter of the actual nipple does not change with implants. However, women can experience areola enlargement after breast augmentation.

The areola is the pigmented skin surrounding the nipple. It can stretch and expand during pregnancy, breastfeeding, or significant weight gain/loss. This is due to the effects of estrogen and prolactin on breast tissue.

Some plastic surgeons report that a small percentage of augmentation patients experience an increase in areola diameter. This is likely due to the weight and fullness of implants stretching the areola skin over time.

The degree of areola enlargement depends on:

  • Elasticity of the breast skin
  • Initial size of the areola
  • Size and placement of the implants

To reduce the chances of areola stretch, surgeons may recommend smaller or moderate profile implants placed under the muscle. Patients with very large areolas may opt for areola reduction surgery along with breast augmentation.

Surgical techniques to minimize nipple changes

If a patient is concerned about enlarged or protruding nipples after implants, there are a few surgical techniques that can help:

Smaller incision sites

Using a transaxillary or periareolar incision minimizes changes to the position and shape of the nipple. An inframammary fold incision can tug the breast lower on the chest wall, making nipples seem more raised.

Submuscular placement

Putting the implant under the pectoral muscle prevents the implant from pushing directly on the nipple. The muscle coverage helps maintain a natural, proportional look.

Avoiding overfilled implants

Selecting an implant size tailored to your breast dimensions reduces unnecessary stretching or distortion of the nipple. Implants that are too large can make the nipple seem bigger compared to the breast.

Internal bra sutures

Some surgeons use bra suture techniques to recreate breast internal ligaments damaged during augmentation. This helps structurally support implants for a perky, proportional shape.

Fat grafting

Injection of fat grafted from your own body is an alternative to implants. The fat helps create gradual fullness for imperceptible enhancement.

Nipple projection over time after augmentation

It’s normal for nipples to be swollen and stick out more in the first weeks after surgery. As the breasts settle into position with the implants, nipple projection usually stabilizes.

In the long term after augmentation, nipples often maintain a natural, proportional appearance. Implants descend slightly lower on the chest wall, while the nipple stays in the same place. This enhances aesthetic outcomes.

But some chronic nipple protrusion can happen years later as breast tissue thins and implant edges become more obvious. This occurs more often with overfilled implants causing constant pressure.

Correcting enlarged nipples after augmentation

If nipple size bothers you after breast augmentation, there are surgical options to reduce nipple protrusion:

Nipple reduction surgery

In this procedure, a small doughnut of tissue is cut out around the nipple base. The nipple is then stitched into a more flush position against the breast. Scarring is minimal since the only incisions are around the nipple borders.

Nipple lift surgery

If the nipple is saggy or elongated, a nipple lift can reshape and raise it to a youthful position. Excess nipple tissue is removed and the remaining skin tightened. Lollipop scars result underneath and vertically down from each nipple.

Implant replacement

Exchanging implants for smaller versions reduces outward pressure on the nipples. New implants can also be placed under rather than over the chest muscle.

Fat grafting

Injecting moderate amounts of fat around the base of the nipple can smooth its transition into the breast. The additional tissue makes the nipple seem less enlarged.

Do male nipple grafts get bigger after transgender top surgery?

For trans women undergoing male-to-female sex reassignment surgery, the nipples are among the last features to be reconstructed. This is usually performed as a separate procedure many months after the initial gender confirmation surgery.

Nipple reconstruction for trans women involves grafting skin from another body part to create a nipple and areola complex. Common donor sites include the thigh, abdomen, or opposite breast. The grafts are shaped into raised nipples and sutured onto the reconstructed breasts.

After nipple grafting, the tissues often appear swollen and slightly enlarged. Over the next few months, swelling gradually resolves and the grafts shrink down closer to normal nipple proportions.

With proper surgical technique, nipple grafts should achieve a natural size and projection in relation to the new breast mound. If the nipple grafts remain overly large or elongated, revision surgery can be performed to reduce their size.


While breast implants don’t directly enlarge nipples, they can appear more noticeable against the augmented breast size. Choosing appropriate implant size along with tactical surgical techniques can prevent undesirable nipple changes. If nipple size does become a concern after surgery, correction procedures are available for a more proportional result.