Nipple Inversion

The pressure many women put on themselves to look “perfect” can cause you to be worried or insecure about issues that you may think are abnormal, but in reality, are actually a fairly common occurrence. An example is nipple inversion, a condition where your nipple is pulled inside your breast, rather than pointing outward. While you may think it seems strange, as many as ten percent of women suffer from this problem.

At Manhattan Plastic Surgery NYC, Dr. Franziska Huettner understands that nipple inversion can be a sensitive or embarrassing topic. However, her expertise in breast surgeries and her personalized attention to each individual patient ensures a successful treatment for inverted nipples, restoring both the functionality of your nipples and your confidence in the appearance of your breasts.

What is Nipple Inversion?

In some cases, nipple inversion is a congenital condition, which means that it has been present since birth. In others, it may be due to one of several factors, including:

  • Aging
  • Shortened milk ducts that pull your nipple inward
  • Cysts in the breast
  • Benign or malignant breast tumors
  • An allergic reaction causing inflammation behind your nipple
  • Mastitis
  • Infection
  • Skin conditions (such as eczema)
  • Scarring around or behind your nipple
  • Trauma

Whatever is causing your nipple inversion, Dr. Huettner at Manhattan Plastic Surgery NYC will thoroughly examine and diagnose the condition, as well as treat it accordingly.

Grades of Nipple Inversion

The severity of your nipple inversion is determined using a grading system, so Dr. Huettner at Manhattan Plastic Surgery NYC will decide which grade of inversion you are suffering from according to the following criteria:

  • Degree of inversion
  • The effect of the inversion on your ability to breastfeed
  • The optimal solution should you choose to treat the inversion

Nipple inversion grades are determined as follows:

  • Grade One - The nipple can be pulled out by gently squeezing or pinching it, and will stay out for a period of time. The nipple can also be drawn out during breastfeeding or with stimulation.
  • Grade Two - You may be able to pull out the nipple, though it is typically more difficult, and it quickly retracts back inward.
  • Grade Three - This level of nipple inversion makes it difficult or even impossible to pull the nipple outward.

Depending on the level of your nipple inversion, there are some techniques and treatments that may help. However, surgery is the sole option for permanent correction of nipple inversion at any level.

Nipple Inversion Surgery

If you choose surgery to correct your nipple inversion, you can undergo this in the comfort of office based surgery. The surgery is performed under local anesthesia and if you chose you may take some oral medication to relax you.

Depending on the degree of nipple inversion different techniques can be applied.

In less severe cases the procedure can involve making a tiny incision and placing sutures using a “purse string” technique that will contract around the base of the nipple and cause it to protrude. As you heal, the scar tissue will also contract around the base of the nipple, further increasing the protrusion of your nipple. This surgery leaves some of your milk ducts attached, which will increase the chance to both preserve your ability to breastfeed, as well as to maintain sensation in your nipples.

In more severe cases a small incision around the base of your nipple has to be made and the attaching fibers and milk ducts have to be cut in order to allow the nipple to protrude as it should.

The goal of each technique is to restore the nipple to its natural position, which will enhance the appearance of not only your nipple, but your entire breast.

Results and Recovery

After your surgery, Dr. Huettner at Manhattan Plastic Surgery NYC will have you wear a protective device to cover your nipple for one to two weeks, to help ensure that it is shielded from trauma or external pressure, which could cause it to retract again. You will experience some mild pain, bruising and swelling after the procedure, but this is normal and is easily managed with over-the-counter pain medication. Any remaining sutures will be removed about five days post-surgery, leaving small, almost invisible scars.

Most patients can get back to their normal activities, including returning to work as soon as the next day. All other strenuous activities or exercise should be avoided for at least a week, or until you have been cleared by Dr. Huettner.

The results of your nipple inversion surgery will be visible immediately, and while it may seem that your nipples seem too large or that they are protruding too much, this is typically due to swelling. Your nipples will return to their intended shape and size after about two to four weeks, leaving you with the beautiful breasts and restored confidence you deserve.

We are here to help

If you are embarrassed or concerned about nipples that are always inverted, it may be time to visit Dr. Huettner at Manhattan Plastic Surgery NYC for a consultation. Call our office today at 212-495-9200 to schedule an appointment.