Inverted Nipple

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What is an Inverted Nipple?

Inverted nipples indent instead of protruding. Nipple inversion can occur in one or both breasts, and in men and women. Sometimes nipples indent as a reaction to changes in temperature or other types of stimulation. Permanent nipple inversion can cause embarrassment and self-esteem issues. If you are interested in procedures that can correct inverted nipples, the office of Dr. Kenrick Spence and Dr. Fernando Ovalle can explain your breast treatment options and provide the look you want.

Treatment for Inverted Nipples

There are surgical treatments available to repair inverted nipples. Once the degree of inversion and the likely effect on breastfeeding have been determined, treatment can be prescribed. There are three degrees of nipple inversion:

  • First degree - Gentle pressing on the areola causes the nipple to rise and maintain shape.
  • Second degree - While it’s possible to pull the nipple out, the extracted nipple will not retain the protrusion and will return to the indented position. This can cause difficulty with breastfeeding.
  • Third degree - The inversion is more severe and requires surgery to cause permanent protrusion.

Surgery involves stretching the milk ducts or cutting them to relieve the tension around the nipple, allowing the nipple to protrude. During the procedure, small incisions are made at the base of the nipple under local anesthetic. The incisions will then be closed with stitches, and a protective dressing will be applied.

What are the Symptoms of an Inverted Nipple?

If you were born with inverted nipples, you may have no other symptoms than the inward position of this part of your breast. If nipple inversion has occurred during adulthood, the symptoms that coincide with the change will relate to the underlying cause. For example, if the nipples are inverted due to inflammation or infection, you may develop symptoms such as breast tenderness and redness around the nipple. Discharge from the nipple, a lump, and the breast feeling warm to the touch are also symptoms of infection or inflammation. If you notice these symptoms, or others, such as scaly, flaky, or itchy skin on the breasts, a lump, or pain, contact your doctor for a thorough examination.

Who Develops Inverted Nipples?

Any person can be born with inverted nipples, even infant boys. Development of inverted nipples later in life may be more common among women who are breastfeeding, due to injury to the mammary ducts. Smoking can also contribute to a higher risk of inversion, as can aging. As a woman approaches menopause, her milk ducts get shorter and wider. This could result in the nipples being pulled inward.

How are They Diagnosed?

A doctor can diagnose inverted nipples via a thorough breast exam. During this examination, the doctor will observe the areola and nipple area and may use their fingers to press on the breast tissue around the nipple to see if that draws the nipple outward. Other procedures may be ordered to help determine what is causing the nipples to point inward. Options include needle biopsy, breast ultrasound, or mammogram.

Is it Normal to Have Inverted Nipples?

It isn't completely abnormal to have inverted nipples. Up to 10% of newborn girls are born with their nipples pointing inward. In this case, most affected girls have inverted nipples in both breasts. If your nipples have changed from pointing outward to pointing inward, you should talk to your doctor. It is important to determine why this change has occurred.

What Happens if I Leave My Nipple Inverted?

If you were born with inverted nipples, nothing may happen if you don't seek treatment. Often, treatment for inverted nipples is done as an elective procedure to help a person feel more comfortable with their appearance. If one or both nipples have suddenly become inverted, it is important to seek medical attention. Your doctor will find the underlying cause of this change and provide the necessary treatment based on your diagnosis.

Can I Breastfeed with Inverted Nipples?

Breast shape seldomly impairs one's ability to breastfeed. Usually, the baby takes in a mouthful of the breast, which draws out the nipple naturally during sucking. Women with inverted nipples want to educate themselves regarding how to promote optimal latching well in advance. Having a few techniques in place can be immensely helpful should problems arise.

Patient Testimonial

"Just wanted to say thank you to all of you for all your care and personal assistance before, during and after my surgery on March 14th. The concern that you and your staff showed to not only me but to my family, was so much appreciated. May God continue to bless others in your medical profession, and I wish you all the best in the future." -YP

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For more information, or to schedule your confidential consultation with Dr. Kenrick Spence and Dr. Fernando Ovalle, contact Hillcrest Plastic Surgery today by calling 407-999-2585 and speak to a member of our office team.

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