Dignified Areola Comparison

Part 2: A visual photo array

By Kevin RR Williams

ANATOMY “Congenital variations of the shape and structure of the nipple lacks coverage in the medical literature.” (A.K. Shaha, D. Floyd) Though most persons have an idea of what an areola looks like, there is considerable variance among what is normal. Genetics contribute to common characteristics in shape, color and size. No two areolae are exactly alike—not even on the same person.

Viewer discretion: Despite public concealment efforts, the areola is the topic of private medical inquiries. Doctors advise women to note areola changes during monthly self-breast examinations (BSE). Questions about breasts and areolae begin with puberty, continue during pregnancy and birth, and do not stop later among pre- and post- menopausal women. How frequently does an ob-gyn hear these questions:

  • Will I be able to nurse my baby with flat or inverted nipples?
  • Why is one areola larger than the other?
  • How come it looks like I have no areola?
  • Can anything be done to darken pale areola?
  • Will the diameter of my areola ever increase?
  • Should I be concerned about oval or asymmetrical areolae?
  • Is nipple discharge cause for concern?
  • Will my tubular breasts produce enough milk to lactate?
  • Does redness, itching and flaking indicate cancer?
  • How will my breasts change during pregnancy?
  • Should I have surgery to reduce the diameter of my areola?
  • Do I need to shave the hair on my areola?
  • Why did the tiny bumps on my areola get bigger?
  • What causes dark crusting nipples?
  • Is cosmetic surgery the only way to improve areola appearance?
  • Can I have breast cancer without the presence of a lump?
  • Why are my areolae so sensitive to touch?
  • Does this change in my areola mean that I have breast cancer?

You can likely add more questions. Many new areola developments prompt cancer concerns. Areola reconstruction is also discussed following breast-sparing surgery. They are often relocated as part of a breast augmentation procedure. Nipple piercing and areola tattoos may be employed to address aesthetic anomalies. Breast malformation can even lead to negative psychological effects. Due to unreliable results, doctors seldom advise patients to search the Internet for answers. Relentless patents suffer through vague descriptions on message boards, crude diagrams or prurient Internet photos to find answers to their many questions.

Tanner 5-Stage Female Breast Development (Thelarche)

Stage 1
(Preadolescent) only nipple tip is raised; glandular tissue absent: areola follows the skin contours of the chest (typically age 10 and younger)
Stage 2
Buds, raised breast and nipple, enlarged areola (10–11.5)
Stage 3
Breasts slightly larger with developing glandular breast tissue extending beyond areola borders, which continues widening but remains in contour with surrounding breast (11.5–13)
Stage 4
Areolae and nipples form secondary mounds above rest of the breasts (13–15)
Stage 5
Mature adult breasts become rounded with only nipples raised (15+)
Actual developmental stages vary. Precocious puberty may occur before age 9. Therefore, do not use these guidelines for determining age.

New Female Anatomy Poster

Of all the female anatomy posters available, none depict the many areola changes women face through key phases of their lives. Producing a chart that is educational to the majority of females is a daunting challenge. Anomalous Areolae is an informative and interactive poster developed for medical students and as a patient guide for obstetric gynecologists, dermatologists and plastic surgeons to explain areola variations in a concise format. More representative than exhaustive, 13 of the 19 illustrations detail life-size nipples and surrounding areolae.

While advising patents to seek diagnosis from a medical professional, the Anomalous Areolae anatomical chart describes breast changes resulting from pregnancy along with depictions of rare side effects. Some aberrant areola morphology is unrelated to pregnancy. This poster clearly contrasts abnormal, though benign, manifestations from life-threatening indications.

Detailed illustrations are referenced from a variety of clinical sources representing key categories. Though patients may identify with some characteristics, any resemblance to the likeness or anatomy of actual persons is coincidental.

Related: Who’s a Candidate for Skin-Sparing Mastectomy?

Original Sketch

Until now, the four primary female breast anatomy posters displayed in ob-gyn offices have been Breast Cancer, Benign Breast Disease, Pregnancy and Birth, and The Female Breast. The areola poster is priced a bit higher to offset initial production.

Physicians that hang the Anomalous Areolae poster within examination rooms are better equipped to address questions from concerned patients. It might be considered a compendium of nearly everything you want to know about areolae but were affraid to ask. With an interchangeable DeuPair Frame, physicians can conserve exam-room wall space while having multiple posters to display for meeting specific patient needs, revealing this one only when required.

Though some breast and areola anomalies affect men, hormonal changes contribute to more questions from women. Patients will gain more confidence in their individuality by seeing a broad range of normalcy and being better informed regarding changes that occur throughout the different phases of their lives as they remain A Bit More Healthy.



Anomalous Areolae is expected to be a popular product. By answering so many questions and depicting numerous conditions, doctors using this poster can more efficiently address patient concerns and thin a crowded waiting room. Pre/Order yours today. Even if you are not ready to accept immediate delivery, you may click the Estimate checkbox during checkout so sufficient stock can be prepared.

What if you are not a doctor but wish to view the photo array and discuss anomalies with your physician? Your ob-gyn will still be able to assist without this poster but you may be helping yourself and other patients to remain A Bit More Healthy by directing the desk nurse (who usually orders posters) to this article on your next visit.

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Tags: adolescent, carcinoma, dermatology, female puberty, malformed, mature, obgyn