Nipple Inversion Correction
Nipple inversion surgery is used to correct nipples that are flat or point inward rather than outward.
What is Nipple Inversion?
Nipple inversion or inverted nipples are nipples that lie flat or point inward rather than outward. Nippled inversion can happen in one or both breasts, and is classified by grades on the seriousness of their condition.
Grade 1 – nipple can be pulled outward easily and will stand out on its own sometimes with stimulation or cold. Breastfeeding is still very possible.
Grade 2 – nipple can be pulled outward but then will quickly revert to its original shape, even with stimulation or cold. It can make breastfeeding difficult.
Grade 3 – a most severe condition of nipple inversion. Pulling the nipple outwards may be impossible or very difficult. Breastfeeding may not be possible.
An inverted nipple can pull below the surface of the areola and usually pops out when stimulated. If your nipple(s) has always had an inverted appearance, it is not usually a medical concern. However, inverted nipples can sometimes interfere with breastfeeding, while others are merely uncomfortable with the appearance. Nipple inversion can develop slowly over time, but if an inverted nipple appears rapidly over a few weeks, speak to your doctor immediately.
In most cases, an inverted nipple is congenital, meaning it’s been present since birth and typically affects both breasts. However, if nipple inversion develops later in life, it is referred to as acquired nipple inversion.
Causes of acquired inverted nipple can include:
- Duct ectasia – the widening of a milk duct and the thickening of its walls.
- Breast cancer – including a form called Paget’s disease
- Fibrocystic breast disease – the development of cysts or scar-like tissue
- Periductal mastitis – inflammation and infection of a clogged milk duct
- Loss of fat or scarring in the area due to trauma or surgery
- Tuberculosis – lung infection that in rare cases can affect the breast
What You Should Know About Nipple Inversion Surgery
Most treatments depend on how severe the inversion is. The list below details common at-home treatments or surgery. However, if you have other concerns about your inverted nipples, please schedule a consultation with Dr. Bray.
Nipple eversion devices – Dr. Bray may suggest pulling the nipple outward with a suction cup device or syringe. Hard plastic breast shells worn inside a bra put pressure around the nipple, forcing it forward.
Hoffman technique – if your nipples are flat or mildly inverted, this exercise may be suitable. Put your thumbs on the base of the nipple and press downward while pulling your thumbs apart. Work your way around all sides of the nipple.
Surgery – treatment for most nipple inversions is surgery. If you plan to breastfeed in the future, be sure to discuss the operation’s risks of harming milk ducts with Dr. Bray. Nipples may also return to being inverted after surgery.
Depending on the severity, it is unlikely you will have other symptoms. However, if there is an underlying disease, you may experience lumps near or under the nipples, tenderness affecting the surrounding breast tissue, or flaking, red skin changes on the nipple itself. Consult your doctor to rule out any underlying causes.
The presence of an inverted nipple is typically not a sign of cancer; however, a careful examination by a physician is required to rule this out. Some cancers can cause the milk ducts to retract, thereby causing the inverted nipple. If a nipple inversion comes on suddenly over several weeks, especially on one side, this can be a cause for concern. If you are concerned about your inverted nipple, schedule an appointment with your doctor immediately.
A nipple piercing can draw out nipple inversion because the jewelry can keep your nipple in an erect position. If a nipple piercing is something you are interested in, consult your doctor before making an appointment. Always ensure your appointment is with a licensed and experienced piercer who has worked on nipple inversions.
Preparing for Breast Asymmetry Correction
Being a minor procedure performed under local anesthetic, there is typically no special preparation required. Any woman who has recently had a baby must allow at least 6 months after completion of breastfeeding prior to nipple inversion surgery. If you plan to breastfeed in the future, be sure to discuss the operation’s risks of harming milk ducts with Dr. Bray.
In line with COVID-19 regulations, we have reassessed our cleaning and sterilization protocols. Upon arrival in our office we conduct symptom screenings with a questionnaire and check our patients’ temperature. We also require mask wearing for our staff and patients. COVID-19 testing before surgical procedures is mandatory in order to protect our staff. Please inform yourself regarding testing centers in your area and arrange for testing prior to your surgery.
We require a number of lab tests, diagnostic tests and medical evaluations leading up to your surgery. The nature of these tests will vary according to the procedure, your age, health, history, and other key health factors. Make sure to run all the necessary blood work and receive clearance before any surgical procedure. Necessary testing may change based on procedure, age, health, history and other factors.
It’s of utmost importance to follow all of your surgeon’s instructions regarding diet, supplements and medications. Stop drinking alcohol and smoking of any kind. Avoid exposure to sick people and quit taking blood thinning medications, such as Aspirin, Ibuprofen and a number of supplements. Post-surgery preparations should be made, such as arranging transportation, getting time off from work, stocking up on food and anything else you will need post-surgery and making sure someone will stay with you during the first two days after the procedure.
Figure out what you are going to wear, follow your surgeon’s instructions regarding pre-surgery fasting and any other preparation measures. Go to bed early and get well rested before your big day. We also recommend getting your house in order and buying ice packs to help with swelling after the surgery.
What to Expect After Nipple Inversion Surgery
A loss of sensation or numbness in the nipple area is normal, and usually subsides in a few days. Dr. Bray uses dissolving sutures, therefore no suture removal is required.. In most cases, You should be able to return to work within 24 to 48 hours unless your work is strenuous. Dr. Bray is very involved in the post-operative care process and will thus create a plan for your recovery.
Complications From Nipple Inversion
Potential risks and complications with Nipple Inversion Surgery include:
- Excessive swelling
- Excessive bruising
- Excessive scarring
- Loss of sensation in the nipple
RECOMMENDED SURGERIES WITH NIPPLE INVERSION
*INDIVIDUAL RESULTS MAY VARY
Schedule a private consultation with Dr. Bray by submitting the form below or calling his offices directly at 416-323-1330.