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Nipple surgery

Inverted Nipple Surgery

Causes of Inverted Nipples

While most women visit a plastic surgeon for enlarging or reducing the size of the breasts, many women visit due to inverted nipples. The condition is painless, but it can make the breasts look distorted, and if only one breast is involved, it can cause the breasts to look asymmetrical. It occurs in men as well, but in women, it can also make breastfeeding either more challenging or not possible.

Patients with inverted nipples often feel embarrassed about the appearance of their breasts, particularly during sexual encounters. The condition is usually due to the structure of the nipple or the surrounding skin and underlying tissue. It can also be due to the milk ducts and other tissue in the nipple becoming shortened as a result of inflammation. Also, scar tissue can cause permanent inversion.

Different Levels of Inversion

Because there are different levels of nipple inversion, your surgeon will evaluate your specific condition during your examination. The level of nipple inversion is based on a scale of 1-3. The least severe level is often called, “shy” nipple. In this case, the nipple, while inverted, will usually respond to cold or tactile stimulation by protruding normally. Nipples may stay protruding for a while, then go back to being inverted.

In level 2, nipples remain inverted all the time. At level 3, the most severe level of nipple inversion, not even vigorous stimulation will make the nipple project at all because of severe tissue constriction or scarring.

During your consultation, you will have an opportunity to discuss your goals and expectations with the doctor, and ask any relevant questions you have about your condition. The doctor will review the options that are available to you, and if surgery is required, you will have an opportunity to tour our state-of-the-art facility located in Watford, Hertfordshire, and meet with our caring staff that will be part of your team.

Different Levels of Inversion

For women (or men) with the lowest levels of nipple inversion, there are some non-surgical temporary fixes available. Using suction devices that place constant pressure on the nipple provides a temporary solution, but doesn’t correct the underlying structural issues that are causing the nipples to retract.

The permanent fix for inverted nipples is surgery. In the older breast revision procedures, the milk ducts were severed which made breastfeeding impossible.  Newer techniques in cosmetic surgery help to preserve the milk ducts and address the surrounding fibres that are holding the nipple in an inverted position.  Rather than cutting the connective tissue in the nipple, fibres are stretched or spread. This is accomplished by making a small incision in the areola while the nipple is held in the extended position. In some cases, the milk ducts can be affected making breastfeeding difficult if not impossible.

After the tissues are stretched, several lines of dissolving sutures are placed under the skin to hold the nipple in the projected position. Once this is done, protective devices are placed over the nipples to hold them in position and prevent them from retracting again during healing.

The sutures dissolve within a few weeks, and the scar is usually not noticeable since the procedure is minimally invasive and only a small incision is made. In addition, the bumpy surface and colour variations in the nipple and surrounding areola help to hide the scar.

The surgery is done under local anaesthetic and takes about one hour. There may be some swelling and discomfort with the procedure, but there is typically very minimal recovery time required. Any discomfort will be managed with oral pain medication prescribed by your surgeon.

After surgery, the results are immediately visible. And since the surgery was directed at correcting the underlying causes, the results are usually permanent. When completed, the surgery will result in a more contoured, outward-projecting appearance to the nipples.

Find out more

You can find out more about nipple surgery on our blog pages. At London Lipo Institute, we have a number of plastic surgeons experienced in nipple surgery. To book a free consultation, please call us on 01923 801601 or email Alternatively, please fill out the contact box below and a member of our team will get in touch with you.

To book your free personalised nipple surgery consultation:

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