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How to Fix Inverted Nipples

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Treatment options for inverted nipples

Treatment Options for Inverted Nipples

Inverted nipples, a condition where the nipples retract into the breast rather than protruding outward, are a common concern for many women. Whether you’re exploring non-surgical methods or considering surgical intervention, in this blog, Chester Consultant Plastic Surgeon Anca Breahna will walk you through each step of the journey towards nipple correction, offering insights and advice to help you make informed decisions.

What Are Inverted Nipples?

Inverted nipples, characterised by the inward turning of the nipple, can be classified into three grades based on severity. Grade 1 involves nipples that can easily be pulled out and may occasionally protrude on their own. Grade 2 nipples are more difficult to draw out and do not maintain their protrusion. Grade 3 nipples are fully inverted and cannot be pulled out manually. This condition is not uncommon and can affect one or both nipples.

The causes of inverted nipples can be divided into congenital and acquired. Some individuals are born with this condition due to the way their breast tissue developed. Others may develop inverted nipples as a result of underlying health issues, such as infections or changes in breast tissue over time.

What Causes Inverted Nipples?

Inverted nipples can be caused by several factors, which can be broadly categorised into congenital (present from birth) and acquired (develop over time):

Congenital Causes

  • Natural Variation in Breast Development: In many cases, inverted nipples are simply a variation in the way the breast and nipple area develop. Some women are born with nipples that do not protrude as is typically expected but instead retract inward. This can affect one or both nipples.
  • Tightened or Shortened Breast Ducts: The ducts beneath the nipple can be naturally shorter or tighter in some women, which pulls the nipple inward. Since these ducts are essentially the structures that connect the underlying breast tissues to the nipple, their length and flexibility can significantly influence nipple protrusion.

Acquired Causes

  • Changes in Breast Tissue: Significant changes in breast tissue due to ageing, weight fluctuations, or hormonal shifts can lead to nipple inversion. As the breast tissue changes, it can affect the tension and relationship between the nipple and the surrounding tissues.
  • Breastfeeding: The process of breastfeeding, especially if it involves complications like mastitis (an infection of the breast tissue), can sometimes lead to nipple inversion. The repeated stress on the nipple and potential scarring from infections can cause the nipple to retract inward.
  • Trauma or Surgery: Any trauma, surgical intervention, or radiation treatment to the breast area can result in scar tissue formation. This scar tissue can contract over time, pulling the nipple inward.
  • Underlying Health Conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as breast cancer or infections, can lead to nipple inversion. In these cases, the inversion might be a symptom of the underlying condition affecting the breast tissue’s structure and health.

When to Seek Help for Inverted Nipples

When to seek help for inverted nipples

Recognising inverted nipples usually involves observing the characteristics of the nipples and how they respond to stimulation or temperature changes. It’s important to consult Anca for a proper diagnosis to rule out underlying conditions that may cause or contribute to nipple inversion.

Seeking medical advice is especially recommended if the inversion of the nipples is a new development or if it’s accompanied by other symptoms such as discharge, pain, or changes in the breast skin. These signs could indicate more serious health issues that require immediate attention.

Non-Surgical Solutions for Inverted Nipples

Non-surgical solutions for inverted nipples offer a less invasive approach for those seeking correction. These options, ranging from simple home exercises to the use of specialised devices, can provide significant improvements without the need for surgery.

Home Remedies and Exercises

Home remedies and exercises aim to encourage the nipple to protrude by strengthening the surrounding tissue and increasing nipple flexibility. One common technique involves gently pinching the area around the nipple to promote protrusion. Additionally, exercises that focus on breast massage can help by stimulating the nipple area and potentially encouraging it to extend outward. It’s important to approach these methods with patience and consistency, as results may vary and take time to manifest.

Devices and Accessories

Several devices and accessories have been designed specifically to assist with nipple inversion. Nipple suckers and everters, for example, use gentle suction to draw the nipple outwards. These devices can be particularly helpful for women with Grade 1 or Grade 2 inverted nipples. It’s advisable to use these products under the guidance of your surgeon to ensure they are applied correctly and to avoid potential harm.

Can Piercing My Nipples Help Correct Inversion?

Nipple piercing is sometimes considered by people with inverted nipples as a method to encourage the nipples to maintain a protruded position. The idea is that the jewellery (usually a barbell) can act as a physical barrier, preventing the nipple from retracting back into the breast tissue. While piercing can offer a cosmetic solution for some, there are several factors and potential outcomes to consider:

Potential Benefits

  • Temporary Correction: For women with Grade 1 (mild) inversion, where the nipple can be easily pulled out, piercing may help the nipple to stay in an everted position more consistently.
  • Aesthetic Appeal: Aside from addressing inversion, nipple piercings are also a form of body modification that some individuals find aesthetically pleasing or empowering.

Considerations and Risks

  • Not a Permanent Solution: Piercing might not provide a long-term correction for inverted nipples, especially for more severe cases (Grade 2 and Grade 3). The effectiveness largely depends on the individual’s anatomy and the degree of inversion.
  • Risk of Infection: Any piercing comes with a risk of infection, which can be higher in areas like the nipples. Proper aftercare is essential to minimise this risk.
  • Pain and Healing Time: Nipple piercing can be painful, and the healing process can be lengthy and complicated, with a higher chance of issues like rejection or migration of the jewellery.
  • Impact on Breastfeeding: There’s a potential impact on breastfeeding capability, as the piercing could cause blockages in the milk ducts or lead to other complications. Though many people with nipple piercings can breastfeed successfully, it’s a consideration for those planning to breastfeed in the future.
  • Allergic Reactions: There’s also a risk of allergic reactions to the jewellery material, which can complicate the healing process.

Surgical Options for Inverted Nipples

Nipple Eversion Surgery

The journey towards correcting inverted nipples through surgical means involves several potential procedures, each tailored to the specific needs and conditions of the patient:

Nipple Eversion Surgery

Nipple eversion surgery stands as a prominent option for those seeking a permanent solution to inverted nipples. This procedure is designed with the aim of repositioning the nipple to an outward, natural-looking state. The technique involves making small incisions at the base of the nipple, through which Anca carefully releases the shortened ducts and fibrous bands responsible for pulling the nipple inward. Once these structures are released, the nipple can be brought out to a protruding position.

Anca may employ sutures beneath the nipple to maintain its outward position during the healing process. These sutures are usually placed in a way that they anchor the nipple in its new position, allowing the tissues to heal and adapt. The goal is to achieve a permanent correction, with the nipple maintaining its protrusion long after the surgery.

The success of nipple eversion surgery largely depends on the grade of nipple inversion and your specific anatomy. For some, this procedure offers a straightforward solution with satisfying results. However, it’s important to note that while the surgery aims to preserve the ducts, in some cases, it might affect breastfeeding capability. Discussing these potential outcomes with Anca is a part of the pre-surgery consultation.

Other Surgical Interventions

In some cases, addressing inverted nipples may be part of a larger breast surgery, such as augmentation, reduction, or lift. These procedures provide an opportunity to correct nipple inversion in conjunction with other modifications to the breast’s shape or size. For example, during a breast lift, Anca can adjust the position of the nipple and areola, including correcting any inversion.

Choosing the right surgical intervention requires a complete evaluation by a skilled plastic surgeon, who can assess the degree of nipple inversion, discuss desired outcomes, and recommend the most appropriate procedure based on your unique anatomy and health considerations. The ultimate goal is to achieve a result that not only corrects the inversion but also aligns with your aesthetic preferences and lifestyle needs.

Each of these surgical options comes with its own set of considerations, including recovery time, potential risks, and impact on future breastfeeding. Open and honest discussions with Anca are essential to navigating these choices and moving forward with confidence in your decision to pursue surgical correction for inverted nipples.

FAQs about Inverted Nipples

FAQs Anca Breahna

Can wearing tight clothes cause nipples to become inverted?

  • No, wearing tight clothes does not cause nipples to become inverted. Inversion is typically due to the structure and development of the breast tissue and ligaments beneath the skin and is not influenced by external compression from clothing.

Is it possible for inverted nipples to correct themselves over time?

  • In some cases, especially with Grade 1 inverted nipples, there might be natural changes due to hormonal shifts, such as during pregnancy or puberty that could lead to the nipples becoming everted temporarily or permanently. However, this is not guaranteed, and changes in nipple protrusion can vary greatly among individuals.

Do inverted nipples affect the ability to detect breast lumps or other abnormalities?

  • Inverted nipples themselves do not hinder the ability to detect breast lumps or abnormalities. Regular breast self-examinations can and should be performed by all individuals, regardless of nipple type, to check for any unusual changes in the breast tissue.

Can men have inverted nipples?

  • Yes, men can also have inverted nipples. The condition is not exclusive to women and can affect anyone, regardless of gender. The causes and potential treatments for inverted nipples are similar for both men and women.

Are there any specific sports or physical activities that are recommended or should be avoided with inverted nipples?

  • There are no specific sports or physical activities that individuals with inverted nipples need to avoid or specifically engage in. Inverted nipples do not generally affect physical capabilities or the health of the breast tissue. It’s always important, however, to wear appropriate and supportive attire for comfort and breast health during exercise.

Further Reading about Breast Surgery with Consultant Plastic Surgeon Anca Breahna

Medical References about Inverted Nipples

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About Anca Breahna – Consultant Plastic Surgeon

top UK cosmetic surgeon anca breahnaMs Anca Breahna, PhD, MSc, FEBOPRAS, FRCS (Plast) is a highly regarded Consultant Plastic Surgeon specialising in the field of Aesthetic and Reconstructive Plastic Surgery. Anca performs a range of breast, body and face surgery and minor skin procedures.

As one of the very few female Plastic Surgeons in her region, she is able to offer that unique female perspective, with empathy, attention to detail and personalised care.

Anca Breahna’s surgical training has been largely undertaken within the United Kingdom. She began a rigorous training programme in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in 1999, after achieving her medical degree from the University of Bucharest. Miss Breahna attained her PhD degree at the same university in 2007 for her medical research. She then relocated to the UK to further extend her qualifications and training.

Anca’s NHS practice is now focused on Breast Reconstructive Surgery, Skin Cancer Surgery, Hand Surgery and soft tissue reconstruction. Over the last 15 years, through her pursuit of further training and education, Anca has developed a special interest and expert practical experience in a range of Aesthetic Breast and Body Surgery.

It is Anca’s true dedication and commitment to her field, that sets her aside from her peers. Her extensive surgical training means that you are in safe hands. She is renowned for providing exceptional care, support and helping achieve realistic goals for her patients.

Anca will treat you in a straightforward manner, with respect, consideration and empathy to ensure you are comfortable with your choice.



Your Next Steps

Do your Research

  • Please read our website pages and blogs to learn more about your intended procedure.
  • All Surgery has risks and potential complications. Please read more about the risks of your surgery.

Making The Most Of Your Consultation

  • A Medical Referral from your Doctor before your consultation is not compulsory however  it is recommended.
  • Please arrive slightly early for your in-person consultation with Anca – Car parking is available on-site at all hospitals.
  • You are welcome to bring a friend or relative to help consider the information and discuss your options.
  • Please be aware you may need to undress for a physical exam so wear simple clothes.
  • Ensure you also take a lot of notes during the consultation and thoroughly read all the documents provided.

Want more information before scheduling your consultation?

Please call to find out more about availability, pricing and medical payment plans or to request more information about the procedure, contact us.

How to Book your Consultation with Anca Breahna – Plastic Surgeon

You can book your consultation with Anca by paying the £150 cosmetic consultation fee when you make your appointment. This fee covers further consultations about the same concern.

Contact Anca’s Team

Call Claire on 0800 080 6026 or Joedy on 03332 244111 to arrange your consultation or email us for more information.

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

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