inverted nipple correction surgery
Inverted nipple, sometimes called invaginated nipple, is a condition that can affect both women and men, in which one or both nipples, instead of protruding outward, appear retracted or pulled into the breast. They may protrude temporarily if stimulated, or may remain retracted regardless of stimulus. Average nipples protrude about 5-10 mm from the areola. Inverted nipple can occur in patients with overly tight milk ducts or connective tissue, which can pull on the nipple, causing it to appear flat or even to project inwards, leaving a “hole” or “pit” where the nipple should be. Other causes of inverted nipple can include breast sagging, trauma to the nipple, gynecomastia (in males), breastfeeding, cancer, infection, pregnancy, aging, sudden weight loss, or simply genetic predisposition. It is estimated that 10-20% of women are born with this condition, but some may also develop the condition later in life. Sudden nipple inversion may be a sign of a serious condition, and should be addressed by your doctor immediately.
Who is a Candidate for Inverted Nipple Correction?
Inverted nipples are graded on a scale from 1 to 3, which measures the ease with which the nipple may be protracted and the level of fibrosis, or excess fibrous tissue, present. Grade 1 typically indicates “shy” nipples that may easily protrude if stimulated, Grade 2 indicates a nipple that can be pulled out but retracts immediately if released, and Grade 3 indicates a nipple that is severely inverted and requires surgery in order to be protracted. Women with Grade 3 inverted nipples often have trouble with breastfeeding due to the constriction of the milk ducts, and may also struggle with infection, rashes, and poor nipple hygiene.
There are a number of non-surgical treatments for inverted nipples, which include suction devices, at-home massages, and even nipple piercing, although these may be of limited effectiveness depending on the underlying cause and degree of inversion. For women with Grade 3 nipple inversion, surgery is almost always the only option for correction.
For some women, inverted nipples are not only an aesthetically displeasing, but also an emotionally distressing condition. Inverted nipples may interfere with nipple functionality, such as decreased sexual sensation and trouble with breastfeeding, as the nursing baby may have difficulty latching onto the breast and bringing the nipple into its mouth. Breastfeeding may still be possible for women whose nipples are not as severely retracted, and may allow for the nipples to protrude due to the suction applied by the baby’s mouth.
How is a Inverted Nipple Correction Performed?
Inverted nipple correction is a minor surgical procedure that typically involves a small incision, usually about 2 mm long, made at the base of the nipple. Through this incision, your surgeon will gently release the overly tight ducts or connective tissue usually responsible for nipple retraction. Results are immediately evident, and a single dissolvable stitch is used to hold the nipple in place during the healing process. Scarring is usually invisible. If combined with a breast augmentation and/or breast lift, the procedure is done under general anaesthesia, in which case transportation should be arranged following the procedure. Otherwise, local anaesthesia is sufficient and the procedure is typically done on an outpatient basis. The procedure is relatively simple and can take as little as 30 minutes in the hands of an experienced surgeon. Despite the simplicity of the surgery, it is important to choose a qualified, certified plastic surgeon to perform your procedure, due to its delicate nature and the potential for damage to the nerve endings and milk ducts.
Recovery is different for every patient, but most patients are able to return to non-strenuous work within a week following surgery. Patients can expect some mild to moderate pain and swelling, which may be alleviated with prescription pain medication. Medical gauze will be placed over the nipple to protect the tiny sutured incisions. The nipples may appear to protrude excessively at first, but should settle into a more natural appearance as swelling subsides, typically after 2-4 weeks. Showering is usually possible the day following surgery, and patients are advised to keep the area clean and dry, applying topical antibiotics if prescribed. Strenuous activity should be avoided for at least 4 weeks after surgery.
Risks & Complications
Inverted nipple correction surgery carries a number of risks associated with any surgery, including bleeding, pain, infection, and adverse reaction to anaesthesia. Because of the abundance of nerve endings in the nipples, some loss of sensation is also possible following the surgery. In addition, undergoing corrective surgery does not guarantee the future ability to breastfeed, due to the risk of severing the milk ducts, and women should take this into consideration when deciding on surgical treatment. Some women will be advised to delay inverted nipple correction until they have completed all breastfeeding, depending on the type of surgery needed, and whether the milk ducts will need to be severed.
Book a Consult!
Many patients who were self-conscious about their inverted nipples report high levels of satisfaction with their inverted nipple correction procedures. Surgical nipple protraction is a quick, safe, and effective treatment for women who are well-informed of the potential risks and complications. At Clinic 360, you will be in the skilled, expert hands of a qualified, certified specialist surgeon who will guide you through every step of the procedure, and whose number one goal is patient satisfaction.