Correction of inverted (turned inward) nipple

HCA UK experts explain how a simple surgical procedure can help to correct the appearance of inverted or flat nipples.

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All breasts and nipples vary in appearance, but for some women, their nipples are inverted.

There are different grades of inverted nipples, ranging from those that are slightly flat or inverted and will protrude for some time when stimulated, to more severe cases that do not protrude at all.

In these cases, a simple surgical procedure can help.

Need to know

Sometimes the breast’s milk ducts are too short or the milk ducts' tissue is too tight. This can result in the pull of the milk ducts being stronger than the nipple’s muscle which leads to inversion.

Inverted nipples are very common and is thought to affect up to 10% of women. While many women with mild symptoms are happy to live with this, more severe cases can cause embarrassment and also make it difficult to breastfeed.

A simple surgical procedure can put this right. It involves releasing or partially dividing the breast ducts by making an incision and drawing the nipple out.

The treatment will usually be carried out under local anaesthetic, where you remain awake but don’t feel any pain as anaesthetic is used to numb the breast area. It usually takes between 30 minutes and two hours.

The surgery involves making a small cut under your nipple to free it from surrounding tissue. Stitches are then used to secure it into a protruding position.

Your consultant will tell you how to prepare for your procedure. As with all surgeries, there may be some risks and side effects involved. Your consultant will explain these to you and answer any questions you may have.

You will be able to go home on the same day. You may experience some bruising, swelling and discomfort, and will be given painkillers to help with this.

Recovery is usually quick, but it’s a good idea to avoid strenuous activities and exercise for a short period.

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Mr Neill Patani

Mr Neill Patani

General Surgery

Ms Jajini Varghese

Ms Jajini Varghese

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Miss Cheryl Lobo

Breast Surgery

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.