Nipple inversion occurs when the ducts connecting the nipples to the underlying breast tissues are too short, pulling the nipple inwards. It is extremely important for the entire breast to be examined carefully when nipple inversion occurs over a short period of time, as this can sometimes be indicative of an underlying cancer.
Why might you want to correct inverted nipples?
Patients may be embarrassed by the appearance of the nipples – especially if just one side is affected (“asymmetrical”). The inverted nipple does not respond to cold weather or stimulation, and patients are self-conscious about this – especially in beachwear or swim wear; patients also find it difficult to breast-feed with an inverted nipple.
What does surgery involve?
Correction of inverted nipples is relatively minor, can be carried out either under local or general anaesthesia as a day case procedure. A small incision of a few millimetres is made below the nipple, and the shortened ducts are divided. The nipple is everted and held in place with a dissolving suture, which is placed under the skin. A small dressing is applied which may be removed after a day.
What is the normal postoperative process?
There may be slight bruising or swelling and tenderness at the site of surgery, which usually clears up within a few days. Patients can shower as normal, and change the small dressing themselves as required..
Do I need time off work?
Patients usually return to work within a couple of days of the operation.
Are there any complications of this procedure?
All surgery can lead to complications such as bleeding, haematoma formation and infection. There may be a loss of sensation in the nipple, and it may not be possible to breast-feed. In a small number of cases, the inversion of the nipple can recur.