Inverted Nipple Surgery

Latest update: April 19, 2024
Medically reviewed by: Jordan Frey MD

Details

Some people have inverted nipples. This is a condition where one or both nipples face inside the breast instead of protruding out. This can occur for a variety of reasons such as the breast ducts being not long enough, the tissues being too tight or there being too much connective tissue in the breast. Women with inverted nipples may have difficulty breastfeeding.

Sometimes the condition can resolve itself over time; however, patients can opt for surgery if it doesn't.

The surgical procedure requires the breast tissue to be cut open and the nipple pushed outwards. Depending on the grade of inversion and on whether the woman is planning on breastfeeding, surgeons may use different techniques.

Grade 1 inversion is characterized by the ability to squeeze out the nipple by applying gentle pressure and/or if the nipple moves outwards when stimulated.

Grade 2 inversions may be slightly more challenging to push out, and will retract once the pressure causing the outward motion is removed.

Grade 3 inversion is when the nipple cannot be pulled out at all.

There are two main surgical techniques used. The first preserves while the second perforates the galactophores (milk ducts). Usually, the first option is preferred for women who wish to breastfeed in the future. It works best for milder inversions as it cuts the circumferential tissues and pulls out the nipple tissue.

However, some patients may undergo reinversion surgery after a failed first attempt. In these cases, surgeons need to remove the galactophores, which ceases the ability to breastfeed. During this technique, surgeons make incisions around the nipple. They remove the galactophorous ducts, reposition the nipple and stitch it in place.

A nipple inversion surgery could require either general or local anesthetic. 

It is usually a quick, outpatient procedure taking about 20-30 minutes. Sutures stay on for 14 days before removal. Patients will have to avoid strenuous activity for the next two weeks, including swimming and baths.
Anesthesia
local/general
Operation Time
Inpatient Period
n/a
Number of Appointments
Recovery Period
2 weeks
Invasiveness
yes

Inverted nipples, what causes them?

Adrian Richards, a plastic surgeon from the United Kingdom, discusses inverted nipples. He explains what causes them and gives details about the stages of life in which this condition is apt to develop. He cautions people that suffer an instance of sudden onset of inverted nipples.

Inverted Nipple, Causes and Correction – Aurora Clinics

Adrian Richards, a plastic surgeon from the United Kingdom, talks about inverted nipples. He discusses their causes and the means of correcting them. He starts by explaining the impact that the condition has on the patient and why he feels these procedures are important. He goes on to explain the different techniques used.

Surgery for inverted nipple – what does it involve?

Venkat Ramakrishnan, a plastic surgeon, describes this "fairly common" operation. He explains the procedure in some detail and talks about the difficulties and talks about the results. He lists some issues that patients could face.