How to treat an inverted Nipple without surgery

Can Niplette help your Inverted Nipples? Read about this non-surgical solution

Have you ever looked at your nipples and wondered “Do they look normal”?

Well, just as breasts come in different colours, shapes, and sizes, so do nipples. They could be protruding, flat, or even inverted. You may think that having flat or inverted nipples is weird, it is actually very common.

Flat or inverted nipples are usually not a cause of worry if they’ve been like this since forever. They can, however, be cosmetically unsatisfying. They can also make breastfeeding harder.

You can try to draw out your nipples by using home remedies and manually stimulating them using the Hoffman technique. If that doesn’t work out for you, you could consider a more effective non-surgical treatment with the Niplette. The Niplette is a painless and inexpensive option to fix inverted nipples without surgery.

Keep reading to learn out more about using Niplette to reverse inverted nipples.

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What are inverted nipples?

Nipples are located at the center of your breasts and are attached to the glands which produce milk (your mammary glands). The areola is the pigmented skin that surrounds your nipples. Together, your nipple and areola form the NAC (nipple-areola complex).

Having short milk ducts can result in flat or inverted nipples. If your nipples are not raised above the level of your areola and instead lay evenly against it, then you have flat nipples. If they pull inwards instead of outwards, even after being stimulated, then you have inverted nipples. Around 10% of women have at least one flat or inverted nipple, so you should know you’re not alone in this.

Even though flat nipples may look different, they should function the same, even during breastfeeding. In some cases, however, it might be more difficult for your baby to latch on to your breasts and breastfeed if your nipples don’t stick out.

How to treat an inverted Nipple
Philips Niplette device for correction of Inverted or Shy Nipples

How does a Niplette work?

A lot of people wonder “can inverted nipples be fixed without inverted nipple surgery”? The answer is possibly, and it comes in the form of the Niplette.

The Philips Niplette is a simple device that provides non-surgical correction of inverted nipples. It’s made up of a transparent nipple cup and a sealing flange which is attached to a valve and syringe port. It works by applying gentle suction to your nipples. This repeated suction aims to lengthen the short milk ducts pulling back on your nipples. After a while, your nipples will eventually stick out on their own. By then you might not have to use the device anymore or only need to do so intermittently.

One study showed that more than 80% of women using the Niplette are able to pull out their nipples and fill their Niplette cup by their first follow-up appointment. Also, more than 90% of women are able to discontinue using the device after only three months after achieving the desired correction. The study also noted that all pregnant women who have used the Niplette have been able to breastfeed without difficulties, although half of them couldn’t breastfeed before.

How to use Niplette

Almost all patients find the Niplette easy to use. All you need to do is follow the below instructions:

  • Before setting up the Niplette, rub your nipples with ointment very well
  • First, push the syringe firmly into the open end of the valve until it’s secured
  • Then, with one hand, place the cup of the Niplette over the areola of your inverted nipple
  • With the other hand, pull the syringe as firmly as comfortable
  • When you pull on the syringe, the air is withdrawn, and your nipple will be sucked into the cup
  • After your nipple has been pulled out, let go of the niplette, and carefully separate the syringe from the valve

After you have completed these simple steps, you can easily hide the Niplette under your clothes and freely go about your day. You should wear it for up to eight hours a day.  Remember that you are in control of the suction and you should only pull on the nipple as firmly as comfortable.

Philips Avent Niplette

Is using a Niplette safe?

If you’ve had inverted nipples for as long as you can remember, then the Niplette is pretty safe to use. However, if you don’t stick to the recommendations, you might run into a little trouble such as:

  • Infection: The Niplette cannot be sterilized, so using it on lactating breasts could lead to an infection
  • Bleeding: Pulling too hard on the nipples could make them crack and bleed a little
  • Sore nipples: Repeated usage of the device could make your nipples sore. Using lotion or nipple ointment will help soothe and hydrate your nipples after prolonged usage of the Niplette

If you use this device properly and follow the instructions, then you will have a smooth experience, satisfying results, and you will get used to it in no time. Make sure you consult with a healthcare professional before you start using the Niplette.

Is a Niplette effective?

Suction devices like the Niplette work by sucking the nipple into a small cup. This suction helps the nipple protrude and point outwards instead of turning inwards. Using such devices repeatedly for some time will help to loosen up your nipples. Eventually, the nipples stay erect for a long time on their own.

The Niplette could be your best shot to fix your inverted nipples without surgery. It’s an inexpensive, safe to use, and simple device. But it may not work for everyone. Most women end up with protruded nipples, others don’t. If you have Grade 3 inversion or the Niplette isn’t working for you, it’s time to consider going for surgery.

What are the other options to fix inverted nipples?

Although the Niplette could give you excellent results, but if you want permanent results you’ll need inverted nipple surgery. This surgery is a cosmetic procedure that takes only about an hour to enhance the appearance and projection of your nipples. The flat nipple surgery is quick, effective, and permanent. You would be able to go back home in a few hours after it’s done.
Dr Patrick Briggs and our surgeons at Coco Ruby Plastic surgery recommend inverted nipple surgery because:

  • It gives you better looking nipples
  • Makes breastfeeding easier for you
  • Boosts your self-confidence
  • Makes you more accepting of your body
  • Can help improve your romantic life

During this brief procedure, a local anaesthetic is used so that your surgeon could lift both your nipple and areolas into a more protruding position without pain.

Are inverted nipples worrying?

A lot of women live their entire lives with inverted nipples and have nothing to worry about. If you’ve always had inverted nipples, from childhood or puberty, then you should know that it’s very natural. It’s usually not a cause of worry.

In such cases, the milk ducts connected to the nipple are short, and they tend to pull it back. It is also not uncommon to get inverted nipples after surgery, pregnancy, or breastfeeding.

But if you’ve noticed that your nipples have recently and suddenly turned and started pointing inwards, then you should check with your doctor. In rare cases, a nipple turning inwards could be a sign of breast cancer or an underlying bacterial infection.

After ruling out any cause for concern, you might want to fix your inverted nipples in case:

  • They interfere with breastfeeding
  • You find them aesthetically unpleasant
  • You feel like it makes your breasts look less mature

What are the grades of inverted nipples?

The level of nipple inversion is determined by grades. Nipple inversion has three grades. The more severe the inversion, the higher the grade. Here’s how you can figure out the grade of your nipple inversion:

  • Grade One: This is the least severe degree. If your nipple is drawn out for a while after you pinch your areola or during breastfeeding, then you have grade one inversion. Grade one inverted nipples could also stand out on their own with cold or other stimulation.
  • Grade Two: Nipples with grade two inversion can still be pulled out, but with more difficulty than grade one. Once released, the nipple will quickly go back into its inverted shape. This can cause difficulty while breastfeeding.
  • Grade Three: If you’re not able to draw out your nipple at all, then you’re a grade three. This is the most severe grade and you might not be able to breastfeed at all.

Manually pulling your nipple outwards could be successful for women with grade one inversion. If that fails, women with more serious inversion might want to consider using a Niplette.

You can follow these simple steps to see your grade of nipple inversion:

  1. Stand in front of a mirror with a completely bare chest
  2. Use your thumb and forefinger to hold your areola
  3. Then gently press inward into your breast
  4. Observe how your nipple responds to your pinch to figure out its inversion grade

You could have different levels of inversion in each nipple. You may also have only one inverted nipple. Once you have figured out how serious your nipple inversion is, you can consider the different options available to fix it.

Niplette FAQs – Frequently asked questions about Niplette and Inverted Nipples

Does a niplette work permanently?

  • Some people get permanent and satisfying results with the niplette, others don’t. It depends on the severity, your skin laxity, and your natural anatomy. But the niplette device is generally safe and inexpensive so it’s worth the try.

How long should you wear a niplette?

  • You should keep wearing a niplette until your nipples start sticking out on their own. The Niplette is not designed to be worn for more than 3 months. So if you don’t get satisfying results after 3 months, you might want to consider other options, like inverted nipple surgery.

How do you fix Grade 3 Inverted nipples?

  • Surgery is your best option to permanently fix Grade 3 inverted nipples. You can, however, try non-surgical treatment first, but this usually does not work with high grades of inversion.

Can I breastfeed after having surgery to correct inverted nipples?

  • This depends on the type of surgery you get. There one surgery type that preserves the milk ducts, and another that does not. If you’re planning to breastfeed in the future, you should discuss this with your surgeon before getting a flat nipple surgery.

Can I make my areolas smaller naturally?

  • There is no natural way to make your areola smaller. You can consider areola reduction surgery for that. This can be done alone, or as part of a breast lift or a breast reduction.  

Can you still breastfeed if you have inverted nipples?

  • It depends on the grade of the inverted nipple. Women with grade 1 and 2 can usually breastfeed with little to no trouble. Women with grade 3 find it almost impossible. The nipples themselves are indeed connected to your milk ducts, but cannot be suckled on by your baby if they’re inverted or flat.

Can you correct inverted nipples without surgery?

  • It depends on how serious your nipple inversion is. Nipples with less severe inversion (Grades 1 and 2) can be corrected by suction devices such as the Niplette. More severe inversion (Grade 3) can usually only be fixed with nipple correction surgery.

What causes flat nipples?

  • Flat nipples are usually that way from birth. Being born with tight connective tissue or short milk ducts can give your nipples their pulled-back appearance. Less commonly, breast surgery, breastfeeding, and breast cancer can be a cause of flat nipples.

Are inverted nipples less sensitive?

  • The difference between erect nipples and inverted ones is only the shorter connective tissue and milk ducts. Since no sensory nerves are affected, inverted nipples should be able to have the same sensations as protruding nipples.

Dr Patrick Briggs recommends you try using the Niplette device before seeking plastic surgery for Inverted Nipples. For more information about Inverted Nipple Surgery visit our webpage.

Further Reading and Medical Sources:


Dr Patrick Briggs FRCS (Plast) – Specialist Plastic Surgeon in Melbourne

Dr Patrick Briggs offers high quality, natural-looking plastic and cosmetic surgery results and is vastly experienced in BreastBody and Face Surgery having performed over 4500 Surgeries in private practice. 

With worldwide expertise, Dr Patrick Briggs is practising breast, face and body surgery for men and women in Melbourne, VIC.


Next Steps to find a top Plastic Surgeon

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What to Bring to your Plastic Surgery Consultation

  • If you like, please bring a friend or relative to help discuss the information and your choices.
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*Disclaimer: Individual results can vary significantly from patient to patient. The information we provide is general.  For further information on what to expect for your preferred procedures, arrange to see one of our Specialist Plastic Surgeons for a full history and surgical consultation.

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