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Inverted Nipples

An inverted nipple is a nipple that appears to be pulled inwards rather than pointing outward. It can be caused by shorter than usual milk ducts, by prior surgery to the nipples or breast, or by an infection or inflammation of the milk ducts beneath the nipple.

The
problem

Some people may have nipples that will protrude and point outward when stimulated, but then invert again when the stimulation stops. Inverted nipples can occur in both men and women and sometimes a person can have just one nipple inverted. Most women with inverted nipples are able to breastfeed successfully, although there might be a bit more discomfort initially. In fact, breastfeeding can be an effective process for inverted nipple correction for some women.

Generally, an inverted nipple is a cosmetic problem. However, a nipple that becomes inverted can be a symptom of breast cancer and should be checked out.

Woman chest

The
procedure

The easiest process for inverted nipple repair is to regularly stimulate the nipples to a protruded state. Pull on the nipple to stretch the restricting tissue and hold it for several seconds. Do this several times a day. Regularly using a breast pump or a suction device can also help with inverted nipple correction.

If these methods don’t work, plastic surgery can also correct an inverted nipple. However, inverted nipple surgery can also impair a woman’s ability to breastfeed or prevent it entirely. The surgery may also impair sensation in the nipple.

Inverted nipple surgery is not complicated and can usually be done under local anesthetic in about an hour.

The procedure involves releasing scar tissue or shortened milk ducts. The incision is very inconspicuous. Usually, you can go home several hours after inverted nipple surgery, and can shower on the next day. Stitches are generally removed after 5 days

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FAQ

Most frequent questions and answers
Inverted nipples occur when the milk ducts and ligaments of the breasts are abnormally short. They act as a tether, causing the nipples to be held inward (inverted) instead of projecting outward as is normal.
Some women may be born with inverted nipples, but their presence may not be noticeable until during or after puberty. Other causes include pregnancy, breastfeeding, trauma, scar tissue, and breast cancer.
Inverted nipples can be identified when the nipples look flat or indented into the areola.

While the presence of inverted nipples is usually not a sign of cancer, some situations dictate that one should have a careful examination by your physician to rule this out. Some cancers cause the milk ducts to retract, thereby causing nipple retraction or nipple inversion. If your nipple inversion came on suddenly over several weeks or months, particularly just on one side, this should be cause for concern. However, if your nipples have been inverted from birth or become apparent around the time of puberty, there is very little chance that they are a sign of the presence of breast cancer.

Schedule an appointment with an experienced breast surgeon (general surgeon) if you are worried for any reason.

Schedule an appointment with an experienced breast surgeon (general surgeon) if you are worried for any reason.

Inverted nipples may occur in 10 to 20 percent of women.
Inverted nipples can be successfully and predictable corrected with surgery. The results are usually normal-appearing and projecting nipples.

The treatment of inverted nipples is generally considered to be a fairly minor procedure that can be performed under local anesthesia in the clinic. There are a variety of surgical techniques that have been touted to provide the desired outcome. The one which I employ involves a very tiny incision at the base of the nipple through which the foreshortened ducts and ligaments can be completely divided, allowing the nipple to be fully released, thereby, leading to a more desirable projection.