Inverted nipples impact roughly 10% of women. This condition generally develops during puberty and results in the nipple projecting into the breast. Fortunately, inverted nipples don’t pose any health risks. However, they may cause problems breastfeeding in some situations. If this occurs, there are appliances that can be used to help. In addition, you may need to enlist the assistance of a special nurse trained in breastfeeding.
In addition, inverted nipples may be a source of self-consciousness for some women. This is generally the main reason why women choose to correct the condition.
Dr. Schuster performs surgery to correct inverted nipples. In some situations, you may be able to successfully address the condition without surgery. During your initial consultation, Dr. Schuster will recommend the ideal treatment plan to address your unique needs.
Your Treatment Plan Depends on the Severity of Your Condition
There are three grades used to classify inverted nipples:
- Grade 1 – This is the mildest form of nipple inversion, and it usually doesn’t cause problems with breastfeeding. You can often pull the nipple out manually and it will maintain its projection for a short period of time.
- Grade 2 – This moderate form of nipple inversion may cause problems breastfeeding. You may be able to pull the nipple out manually, but it will quickly become inverted again.
- Grade 3 – This is the most severe form of nipple inversion. In this situation, the nipple cannot be pulled out manually. Breastfeeding may not be possible in these situations.
In some instances, you may be able to correct Grade 1 inverted nipples nonsurgically using the Phillips AVENT Niplette. The Niplette uses gentle suction to pull the nipple out into a small thimble-like device. After wearing the device daily for several weeks, your nipples will remain projected outward. If the Niplette doesn’t work, the condition can be corrected using sutures.
If you experience Grade 2 or Grade 3 inverted nipples, surgery will most likely be required to correct the condition. The technique used by Dr. Schuster will depend on the severity of your condition:
- Grade 2 inverted nipples can be corrected by surgically dividing the deep fibrous tissue causing the nipple to point inward. A buried suture will help maintain a projected position.
- Grade 3 inverted nipples require a more complex surgical procedure to correct. Dr. Schuster will use magnification lenses which allow him to identify the ducts in order to reduce or prevent them from being cut. The fibrous tissue is divided while leaving the surrounding nerves, vessels and ducts intact. A small strip of skin from the groin will be placed into the nipple to provide the extra bulk necessary to maintain a projected position. A buried suture is added for extra support. Dr. Schuster has found that this technique has the highest success rate and provides the best chance of maintaining nipple sensation and the possibility to breastfeed in the future.
Dr. Schuster’s goal is always to correct the inversion while leaving the ducts intact in case you choose to breastfeed in the future.
Contact our Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
Please contact Dr. Ronald Schuster using the form on this page or call 410-902-9800 today to schedule a consultation. We serve patients in Baltimore and the surrounding areas of Maryland.