WHAT IS INVERTED NIPPLE?
An inverted nipple is a condition in which the nipple is pulled inward into the breast instead of pointing outward. This condition can also be called nipple inversion, nipple retraction or invaginated nipple, although some observers distinguish these two variations. Nipple retraction can be a congenital condition as a normal variant in some women. In other cases, it may arise as a result of disease or trauma. Any condition that causes inflammation or scarring of the tissues behind the nipple may cause the nipple to pull inward.
THE BEST CANDIDATE FOR INVERTED NIPPLE
- Becoming distressed or self-conscious because of their nipple inversion.
- Having difficulty nursing their baby.
- Wanting an effective treatment with long-lasting results.
- A nipple correction procedure is a relatively simple surgery to perform. It often lasts between 30 to 120 minutes depending on the severity of the inversion.
- You will meet your surgeon to sign a consent form before the procedure. This will be done either on the day of your surgery, or during your pre-operative assessment a week before.
- As this is a simple procedure, WE will give you a local anaesthetic, with or without IV (intravenous sedation). In some cases however, it may be more preferable to use a general anaesthetic. WE will discuss which anaesthetic they will use during your first consultation.
- We will make a small incision at the base of the nipple to gain access to the milk ducts that are pulling the nipple inwards. The different techniques we can use depend on the severity of the nipple inversion, and include the following:
- In patients with mild to moderate nipple inversion, can “stretch” the short milk ducts, therefore pulling the nipple outwards. We will lift the nipple and areola from the breast, stretching them and then suturing the nipples into their new position.
- As this method only stretches the milk ducts and does not cut them, it should not affect your ability to breastfeed. However, this technique does carry a higher risk of nipple inversion recurrence.
- If your nipple inversion is more severe, we may choose to cut or divide, the milk ducts. When cuts the milk ducts, it releases the tension that is pulling the nipple inwards. Because the milk ducts are cut, this technique will affect your ability to breastfeed. You may lose the ability to breastfeed entirely. There is however, a much lower risk of nipple inversion recurrence.
- After we are stretches or cuts the milk ducts, they will use stitches to secure the nipple in its new projected position. We will discuss with you which incision is best to use for your nipples.
- We will use stitches to close the incision. They will then apply a protective dressing to the nipple to prevent it from retracting again.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Inverted nipple causes can include: - Breast cancer, including a rare form called Paget’s disease of the nipple - Duct ectasia, which is a widening of a milk duct and thickening of its walls. This can result in the duct filling with fluid and becoming clogged. - Fibrocystic breast disease - Periductal mastitis, which is inflammation and infection of a clogged milk duct. It can occur as a result of duct ectasia. - Scarring or loss of fat in the area due to surgery or trauma - Tuberculosis, which is usually a lung infection. In rare cases, it can affect the breast.
- Symptoms along with an inverted or retracted nipple: - Lump under or near the nipple - Nipple discharge that isn’t milk and that may be bloody - Nipple tenderness or soreness, which may also affect the surrounding breast tissue - Skin changes on the nipple, such as redness or flaking
Inverted and non-protractile nipples are a common problem which cause psychological distress and interfere with a woman's ability to breast feed. A new instrument, the "Niplette", readily corrects the defect without the need for surgery. It is cheap and all patients found it comfortable and easy to use.
Retracted nipples can be a normal variation of nipple type. They may also signal an underlying condition which could be benign or cancerous. If your nipples suddenly become retracted or inverted, see your doctor. Breast cancer signs and symptoms.
Nipple inversion is one of several common breast variations. It shouldn't have any effect on your health. Often inversion can be temporarily adjusted through manual stimulation. If you'd prefer something more permanent, talk to your doctor about nipple piercing and options for surgery.