Correction of Inverted Nipples
Many people all over the UK have at least one inverted nipple. Inverted nipples are a common condition whereby your nipple points inwards rather than outwards.
The majority of people who suffer from inverted nipples are born with the condition and it can affect both men and women.
There are currently 3 grades of an inverted nipple used to define how serious the condition is. These include:
Grade 1 - The nipple is inverted to some degree but can be pulled out easily using the finger. Grade 1 nipples look almost like a typical nipple in appearance but may sometimes point inwards. Milk ducts are not affected and females can still breast feed. They are commonly referred to as shy nipples and surrounding tissue damage is usually not present in the breast. There is also no sign of tissue deficiency of or around the nipple.
Grade 2 - The nipple is inverted and whilst pulling it out is a possibility, it usually retracts as soon as it is released, causing it to point inwards for the majority of the time. Females who have grade 2 inverted nipples can still usually breastfeed, but it is more difficult, especially for a new born baby to 'latch on'. In addition, the milk ducts are usually inverted too, but do not require surgery to function.
Grade 3 - The nipple is inverted all of the time and cannot usually be pulled out using the finger or pressure / stimulation. Surgery is usually required to make the nipple point outwards. Breastfeeding is very difficult and the milk ducts are often compromised. However, whilst difficult, it is still possible to breastfeed as milk production is not affected. Following childbirth and breastfeeding, some women find that their nipples point inwards less or may even point outwards permanently.
About Nipple Correction Procedures
Depending on the extent of your inverted nipples, surgery is usually a minor procedure that is carried out using local anaesthetic.
The procedure takes under 30 minutes to perform in most instances and no overnight stay in hospital is required.
Patients are treated for inverted nipples as an outpatient, meaning that you can return home the same day, usually within a few hours after your minor operation.
The surgical procedure itself is performed by making a cut around the nipple and separating the necessary tissue and ducts within the breast. The nipple is then positioned correctly and stitched with dissolvable stitches to keep it in place.
This cosmetic procedure is considered a minor operation and there are low risks associated with it.
There are many advantages to undergoing nipple correction surgery. As each individual patient is different, the way in which it can impact on their life varies. For example, some people may be embarrassed to get naked in a dressing room or in front of their partners because of their inverted nipple. Whereas others may simply dislike the way they look to themselves in the mirror and dents their self confidence.
Feeling self conscious can influence a patients like in many ways and often affects the decisions they can make in life, such as career, the clothes they wear and partners.
Correcting inverted nipples can take away the embarrassment and feelings of self conscious along with opening doors on new job opportunities, the clothes worn at work / on a night out and even their love-life. Often some patients are so embarrassed by their nipples that they will ensure they are covered at all times and avoid tight clothing.
Patients who have undergone nipple correction surgery frequently report a boost in confidence and are generally much happier with the way the breasts look.
Recovery and Complications
Nipple correction surgery is known for having a quick recovery period and minimal aftercare is required.
The most common side effect of nipple surgery is discomfort - which is mild - and some pain that can be dealt with using painkillers if required.
Following this procedure, it is advised that the patient should rest at home for at least 24 hours and can expect to be back in work within 24-48 hours. However, as long as you are comfortable and not in any pain, you may return to work and resume normal activities sooner.
Another side effect that patients are made aware of before undergoing nipple surgery is the likelihood of breastfeeding in the future.
Breastfeeding can be affected depending on what grade your inverted nipples are.
For this reason, some patients decide to wait until they have finished their motherhood period before undergoing surgery.
However, during a consultation, your surgeon will discuss this with you and any plans you have for the future depending on your age and life goals.
Here are the main points to observe for recovery and side effects:
- Patients can usually return to work after 24-48 hours.
- Strenuous activities should be avoided for 2-3 weeks.
- Padding / soft clothing can be worn to avoid chafing.
- Dressings will need to be worn for the first 7 days post surgery.
- It is common to experience some slight swelling and bleeding around the nipple along with some slight bruising.
- Some creams can be used to keep the surrounding skin moisturised to help with any discomfort, but always check with your consultant about the type of cream you intend to use.
- Full results of surgery should be visible within 4-6 weeks and you will be able to see a clear difference in how your nipple points outwards as oppose to inwards pre-surgery.
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