What does Inverted Nipple Correction mean?
An inverted nipple is a condition in which the nipple ducts are shorter than normal. This happens when the nipples are pulled inwards causing the nipple to lie flat against the breast. It occurs in about 2% of women. Although rare, it can also happen to men. Inverted Nipple Correction Surgery may help address the issue.
An inverted nipple is usually a result of a congenital anomaly. However, it can also be a result the of;
- Scarring from breastfeeding
- Infection in the ducts
- Or, previous breast surgery.
Inverted nipples are not just a cosmetic concern. In fact, for some people, it can cause functional problems including; inflammation, rashes, and pain. In some cases, it may also prevent women from being able to breastfeed.
Inverted nipple surgery is a cosmetic surgical procedure that may alter the projection of one or both of the nipples and the appearance of your breast. It may also help preserve the sensitivity of the nipple.
The 3 Grades of Inverted Nipples
In this grade, the nipple is inverted under the areola but can be maneuvered to project. However, it will return to its inverted state within a few minutes. In such cases, breastfeeding is usually possible.
So, although grade 1 nipple inversion can affect appearance it does not usually effect function and therefore corrective surgery is usually not necessary.
Grade 2 nipple inversion is when the nipple is inverted under the areola and can only be forcefully maneuvered to briefly protrude. In this situation, breastfeeding may still be possible, however, correction surgery can be done.
This grade of nipple inversion refers to nipples that require vigorous manipulation. Moreover, the nipple remains buried in the areola. In these cases, surgery is required to rebalance the muscle pull and correct the inversion.
What are the Potential Outcomes of Inverted Nipple Surgery?
The potential outcomes of inverted nipple surgery may vary depending on the individual and the severity of the condition. However, some potential outcomes of inverted nipple surgery include:
- Altered nipple projection
- Inverted nipple surgery may help to correct the position of the nipple.
- Ability to breastfeed
- In some cases, inverted nipples can make breastfeeding difficult or impossible.
- Surgery to correct the condition may make it easier for mothers to breastfeed their babies.
- Addressed hygiene
- Inverted nipples can be more difficult to clean and can be more prone to infections.
- Corrective surgery may help to improve hygiene and reduce the risk of infection.
- Relief from discomfort
- In some cases, inverted nipples can cause discomfort or pain.
- Surgery can help to alleviate these symptoms
It is important to note that the potential outcomes of inverted nipple surgery should be discussed with a qualified medical professional, as the procedure may not be appropriate for everyone and carries some risks and potential complications.
Inverted Nipple Before and After Photos
Looking at previous inverted nipple correction procedures speaks volumes about a specific surgeons abilities. See more of Dr Briggs’ inverted nipple before and after photos.
The photos on this website and in our office are for informational purposes. The images demonstrate the potential outcomes of procedures. Individual results will vary, and effects cannot be guaranteed. The photos do not promise or guarantee specific results. They are meant to help visualise potential outcomes.
Each patient is unique, and many factors affect surgical results.
In consultations, Dr. Briggs evaluates each patient and discusses realistic expectations.
Inverted Nipple Surgical Techniques
There are two techniques for inverted nipple surgery. The first involves leaving the milk ducts intact whilst the second divides them. Below is a brief description of both techniques;
Leaving the Milk Ducts Intact
This technique is often referred to as the “parachute flap” technique. During the procedure, your surgeon will use anaesthetic on the dark-skinned area of the breast (areola) and an incision will be made.
Then, the nipple and areola tissue is carefully lifted while keeping it connected to the breast and stitched into a new, protruding shape utilizing a purse-string style of stitches.
It’s important to note that scar contracture will actually increase rather than decrease nipple projection because of the circular shape of the scar around the nipple.
Unfortunately, as the tethering of the milk duct is often the cause of inverted nipples, this procedure has a significantly higher recurrence and relapse rate.
However, it is highly likely that those undergoing this procedure will be able to breastfeed because some of the milk ducts will remain attached. Moreover, patients shouldn’t experience a change in nipple sensation.
If the procedure is being done as a stand-alone procedure and not in conjunction with other breast surgeries, it usually only takes about one hour to complete.
Dividing the Milk Ducts
The second technique is often the more preferred option of the two. It may be necessary in more complex cases. As with the first anesthesia will be applied to the nipple base before making an incision.
However, unlike the first technique, this technique involves detaching all the milk ducts. This allows the reshaping of the nipples. The incision is sutured closed and medicated gauze is applied to the site.
Similar to the first technique this surgery typically takes only an hour to complete unless it is combined with other cosmetic surgical procedures. Usually patients are able to return home within a few hours of the surgery.
Furthermore, patients shouldn’t experience a change in nipple sensation but they won’t be able to breastfeed because of the complete removal of the milk ducts.
In either case, the objective is to reshape the nipple and areola so that the nipple projects out from the breast. This may alter the projection of the nipple while preserving the sensitivity of the nipple.
Every individual case is unique and may require a personalized approach. As such, it’s essential to consult with a qualified and experienced surgeon to determine the most appropriate technique for your specific situation. Additionally, potential risks and complications associated with the procedures should be discussed thoroughly with the surgeon beforehand.
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Risks and Complications of Inverted Nipple Surgery
Every surgical procedure poses a certain amount of risk. It is important that you understand the risks and possible complications that are associated with it before deciding if the surgery is right for you.
During your first consultation, Dr Briggs will thoroughly brief and explain to you all the possible risks and complications that the surgery carries, including;
- Bleeding from the incision site.
- Potential allergic reactions.
- Discomfort, bruising, and soreness around the incision site.
- In smokers and diabetic persons, healing is often slow.
- Anesthetic risks.
- A difference in the sensation of the breast and nipple.
- Temporary or permanent loss of sensation around the operated site.
- Inevitable scarring.
- Difficulties while breastfeeding as well as a reduction in milk supply due to damage in the milk ducts.
- In some cases, losing the ability to breastfeed is possible.
- A considerable difference in the size or projection of the nipples.
- Undesired result.
- Re-flattening of the nipples.
- Subsequent surgery may be necessary to correct any faults.
Contact us to find out more or book an appointment.
Inverted Nipples FAQs
Can you surgically fix inverted nipples?
Yes, you can surgically fix your inverted nipples. The procedure is a cosmetic procedure, names for the surgery include;
- Inverted Nipple Surgery
- Or, Inverted Nipple Correction Surgery.
How long does it take for inverted nipple surgery to heal?
The healing time for inverted nipple correction surgery can vary from person to person and may depend on the extent of the surgery performed. In general, patients may experience some swelling, bruising, and discomfort for the first few days after surgery, and may need to take a few days off from work or other activities to rest and recover.
It is important to follow your surgeon’s post-operative instructions closely. Your surgeon will be able to provide more specific information on the expected recovery time based on your individual case.
Can Inverted Nipples cause problems?
Inverted nipples can sometimes cause problems, particularly when it comes to breastfeeding. If a mother has inverted nipples, it can make it more difficult for the baby to latch on and breastfeed properly. This can lead to issues such as poor milk transfer, sore nipples, and mastitis.
In rare cases, inverted nipples can also be a symptom of an underlying medical condition, so it is always a good idea to speak with a healthcare provider if you are concerned about your nipple shape. However, for many people, inverted nipples do not cause any significant issues or health concerns.
What causes inverted nipples?
Some of the common causes include:
- Congenital anomaly.
- Disease or trauma that caused inflammation pulling the nipple inwards.
- Side effects of former breast surgery.
- Presence of a cyst in the breast or a benign breast tumour.
- Abscess in the subareolar region.
- Inflammation of breast tissue.
- Fat necrosis.
Does Medicare cover inverted nipple surgery?
In general, Medicare covers surgeries that are considered medically necessary. If inverted nipple surgery is deemed medically necessary to correct functional problems such as breastfeeding difficulties or chronic infections, it may be covered by Medicare. However, if the surgery is purely cosmetic in nature, Medicare is unlikely to cover the cost.
It’s best to consult with a doctor and a Medicare representative to determine if the surgery is covered under your specific circumstances
See Medicare item number 31563.
Will inverted nipple correction surgery leave scars?
Scars are an inevitable part of any surgery. The extent of scarring will depend on the individual’s body and the surgical technique the surgeon uses. In general, incisions are made around the base of the nipple or in the areola to release the tissues causing the inversion, which may leave small scars. However, the scars typically fade over time and become less noticeable.
It’s important to discuss the potential for scarring with your surgeon and to follow their post-operative care instructions to manage the risk of scarring.
Medical References – Further Reading on Inverted Nipple Correction
- Surgical Correction of Inverted Nipples (nih.gov)
- Inverted Nipple Repair Revisited A 7-Year Experience | Aesthetic Surgery Journal | Oxford Academic (oup.com)
- Nipple Enhancement for Inverted Nipples Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (plasticsurgery.org.au)
- Nipple Correction Surgery Sydney (pureaesthetics.com.au)
- Cosmetic procedures for the nipples and areolas, ASPS (plasticsurgery.org)
- Nipple and Areola Surgery in Melbourne, Coco Ruby Plastic Surgery
Dr Patrick Briggs Melbourne
Dr Patrick Briggs FRACS (Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons) is a Specialist Plastic and Cosmetic Surgeon.
Both he and his team are dedicated to patient care and are committed to treating each and every patient with respect and privacy.
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The information provided in this article is for educational and informational purposes. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article. The author and publisher of this article make no representation or warranties with respect to the accuracy, applicability, or completeness of the contents of this article. The information contained in this article is strictly at your own risk.