An inverted nipple is one that points inward toward the body rather than pointing outward. While causes of this condition can vary, patients often experience self-consciousness that can impede their ability to live life fully. Fortunately, inverted nipple correction can be achieved through a minor surgical procedure in office.
Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Lisa Hunsicker has made it her life’s work to help people by enhancing their physical bodies. She has performed numerous inverted nipple correction procedures for men and women and always makes patient safety and satisfaction the priority.
What To Know About Inverted Nipples
Inverted nipples affect people of many ages to varying degrees. The condition does not always indicate an underlying medical issue, and many people opt not to seek treatment. Regardless of your choice to pursue nipple correction, there are some basic things to know about inverted nipples:
- Inverted nipples can present in men, women, and children of all ages.
- One or both nipples can be inverted.
- There are 3 grades of nipple inversion. Grade 1 is the least severe, involving nipples that will protrude easily with stimulation. Grade 2 can be stimulated to protrude with significant effort but will not sustain their protruded state. With Grade 3 inversion, nipples cannot be manipulated to protrude.
- Breastfeeding is possible with many women’s inverted nipples. However, the condition can make it difficult for babies to latch onto the nipple.
Many cases of nipple inversion are congenital and due to the presence of short milk ducts. There are also other factors that can cause a change in nipple appearance later in life, including:
- Breast surgery – Scarring or inflammation of the tissue behind the nipple can cause the nipple to retract.
- Mammary duct ectasia – Hormonal changes in women aged 50 and up can cause this condition, which is inflammation or infection of the mammary ducts.
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding – When breast volume is lost after pregnancy, sometimes there is no longer enough tissue to keep the nipples protruding outward.
- Cancer – A tumor behind the nipple can attack the duct, resulting in the pulling-in of the nipple.
Inverted Nipple Correction Procedure
The first step is to have a consultation, so Dr. Hunsicker or Dr. Nguyen can do an exam and you can express your concerns and expectations around the procedure. If you are considering additional procedures to alter the appearance of your breasts, such as breast augmentation or breast reduction, you should discuss this at the consultation. If you and the doctor determine that nipple correction is right for you, the next step is to schedule your surgery.
Dr. Hunsicker and Dr. Nguyen require you to cease nicotine use for 6 weeks prior to your procedure and the month following your procedure. This allows for optimal healing. It’s also important that you disclose all medications and supplements that you take. The doctor can determine if there will be any interactions with the anesthetic and advise you to temporarily stop taking those substances.
For the surgery, Dr. Hunsicker and Dr. Nguyen typically use a local anesthetic, as the procedure is relatively minor, and local anesthetic allows for a quicker recovery. The doctor will then make a small incision so she can carefully release the tissue or shortened ducts from the nipple. She then inserts a very small surgical mesh called GalaSHAPE®. GalaSHAPE® acts as a type of scaffolding to help hold the desired shape of the nipple. The mesh will dissolve over the next 24 months creating a scar tissue plane which in turn gives you better long term results. Once the mesh has been situated, sutures are placed to help maintain an outward position of the nipple.
For more severe cases of nipple inversion, Dr. Hunsicker or Dr. Nguyen will place a small cone-shaped piece of Galashape mesh under the nipple. This mesh incorporates into the tissue and helps keep the nipple from pulling inward. Dr. Hunsicker and Dr. Nguyen are the only surgeons in this area performing inverted nipple surgery with this method, and they feel it creates a far more successful long-term result. Because the nipple tissue has a memory of sorts, the Galashape mesh dissolves fully in 18 to 24 months, but by this time the nipple is now permanently corrected. Scar tissue has formed around the mesh, and this adds the necessary support to prevent future inversion.
Are the results of inverted nipple correction surgery permanent?
Some patients wonder if this condition can, in effect, return and their nipple will again become inverted. Whether Dr. Hunsicker or Dr. Nguyen simply release the tissue or shortened milk ducts that are causing the inversion, or whether she inserts the Galashape mesh to provide more structure (as described in the Procedure section), these are permanent changes to the patient’s nipple or nipples. Short of changes in the breasts due to other issues, your nipple correction is permanent.
What kind of anesthesia is used for an inverted nipple correction surgery?
These are simple in-office procedures. Our surgeons perform them using only local anesthesia.
Will I be able to breastfeed after having inverted nipple correction?
Nipple inversion is often the result of a congenital condition where the person’s milk duct tissue is tighter or shorter than normal. This pulls the nipple inward. To correct this problem, Dr. Hunsicker and Dr. Nguyen needs to release these milk ducts. As you would assume, this directly impacts the patient’s ability to breastfeed. If the patient’s inversion is more severe and the surgeon places Galashape mesh to help keep the nipple in the correct outward position, the patient will no longer be able to breastfeed.
If you’re considering having children, you should put off this procedure until after your last child is born and you are finished breastfeeding.
Are there any risks associated with inverted nipple correction?
These are simple procedures and involve little risk. Our patients from across the Denver area have some mild swelling and sensitivity afterwards, but this resolves in one to two weeks. As with any surgery, there is a risk of excessive bleeding, infection, poor wound healing, and the like, but this is rare thanks to our surgeons experience, and expertise.
How long will my recovery be after having inverted nipple correction?
Because these are minor surgeries, your recovery is not difficult. Patients can return to work the following day. Light cardio exercise can begin in just three days or so. Dr. Hunsicker or Dr. Nguyen will have you wear a compression garment on your upper body for 10 to 14 days after your procedure.
Schedule Your Inverted Nipple Correction Consultation
At Revalla, we understand that choosing to have cosmetic surgery is a serious decision. We strive to provide the information and support you need to make the best choice for you and your body. If you are unhappy with the look of your inverted nipples and want to know if you are a candidate for this procedure, call us at 720.283.2500 to schedule your consultation in Littleton with Dr. Hunsicker or Dr. Nguyen.