Correction of Inverted Nipples

Inverted nipples are a relatively common concern amongst woman. Microsurgical correction provides a gentle solution to rectify and enhance nipple shape without damaging delicate structures or leaving evident scars.


Inverted nipples are one of the most frequently occurring congenital problems, with as many as nine per cent of women having one or both nipples inverted, flat or only slightly prominent.

The condition is caused by an over-production of short and highly resistant collagen fibres, and often worsens with repeated pregnancies and breastfeeding. In addition to the undesired aesthetic issues, inverted nipples may be the source of repeated inflammatory or infectious conditions in the outer milk ducts or in the mammary gland itself. Furthermore, women with severe cases experience difficulties in breastfeeding.

Microsurgical correction

There are many methods for rectifying this condition, most of which involve creating small skin flaps or traction sutures inside the nipple to hold its corrected form. Dr Sorensen uses a different and highly specialised technique which relies on high-precision optical magnification. It enables microsurgical dissection of the fibres, leaving nerves and ducts intact in order to preserve sensitivity in the nipple and improve chances for future breastfeeding. This method provides a more natural solution and can be performed with minimal or no visible scarring. The procedure is performed under local anaesthesia and no hospitalisation is required.

Microsurgical versus traditional methods

The microsurgical procedure is a gentle and minimalistic approach to correcting inverted nipples through the removal of a small area of scar tissue underneath the nipple. Although its tissue-sparing and minimal scarring properties make it a highly desirable technique, the method may not always correct all cases of inverted nipples in the first instance. Occasionally, a nipple may retract months later, in which case the procedure can be repeated or a traditional technique based on skinflaps may be required (approximately 4% of patients).

It is Dr Sorensen’s opinion that it is preferable to perform a minimally-invasive, tissue-sparing procedure initially and follow up with an adjustment if necessary, rather than to carry out traditional, non-tissue-sparing surgery outright on all patients.

Candidates for surgical correction of inverted nipples

Most patients are aged between 20 and 60. Candidates are women with a fully developed breast, who are not pregnant or breastfeeding. Some women chose to have their inverted nipples corrected as an adjunct to other breast enhancement surgery.

Classification

Inverted nipples are graded according to the degree of fibrosis, severity of inversion and ability for the nipples to be everted.

● Grade I, light inversion: Nipples are easily everted but retracts spontaneously.

● Grade II, moderate inversion: Nipples are everted with difficulty and retracts immediately.

● Grade III, major inversion: Nipples are permanently inverted.