Breast Surgery for
Inverted Nipples Questions
What are inverted nipples?
Whereas typical nipples point outward, inverted nipples do not stand out. In most cases, the inversion is caused by shortened ducts or other tissue that pull the nipple inward. Doctors assess the severity of the inversion using a scale: Grade 1 nipples are only slightly inverted, whereas Grade 3 nipples are severely so. Although inverted nipples are usually not dangerous, many women find that having them can lead to breastfeeding difficulties. Others report that nipple inversion adversely affects sexual stimulation and self-esteem. Women with Grade 3 inversions are also susceptible to infections due to difficulties maintaining proper hygiene.
Who is likely to have inverted nipples?
Both men and women can have inverted nipples. It is difficult to determine how many women have at least one inverted nipple, as this condition is often not diagnosed; however, current estimates run between 2 and 10%. There is no one factor that causes inverted nipples. For most, the condition is genetic. Other possible causes include trauma to the breast, breastfeeding, an abscess on the breast, mastitis (an infection of breast tissue), and cancer.
What can I do to fix inverted nipples?
Sometimes, inverted nipples resolve themselves, but most men and women need to intervene to ensure that nipples stay protracted (pointing outward). Although non-surgery treatments exist, such as nipple suction devices, nipple piercing and nipple stimulation, surgery is generally understood to be the most reliable and most permanent method of treating inverted nipples.
What does breast surgery for fixing inverted nipples involve?
Fixing inverted nipples is a relatively simple surgical procedure. During surgery, Chicago Breast Surgeon Dr. Placik will protract the nipple and make a small incision around the nipple's base; he will then determine the cause of the inversion (whether shortened ducts, scar tissue, or other fibers). Once he has a clear understanding of the inversion, Dr. Placik will either remove or manipulate fibers in a way that allows the nipple to remain protracted. Dr. Placik exercises great care in avoiding damage to the milk ducts but this may be unavoidable in advanced cases in order to achieve optimal correction. The sutures he puts in place dissolve within two weeks, leaving no visible scars.
What do I need to know before choosing breast surgery?
The most important thing to remember is that, although most cases of nipple inversion are genetic, the condition can be a sign of a more serious problem, particularly if your nipples become inverted suddenly. Before opting for breast surgery, you must be sure that the condition is cosmetic, and not medical. Additionally, you should recognize that some women are still unable to breastfeed even after having their nipples surgically protracted. In most cases, however, surgery does not greatly affect the sensitivity of the nipple.
When you visit Dr. Otto J. Placik, you will receive the best possible care and attention. If you would like to schedule a private consultation, please send our Chicago plastic surgery office an email or call us at (847) 398-1660. Our experienced plastic surgery staff will answer all of your questions about any of the plastic surgery procedures we offer.