Inverted Nipple Correction

Inverted nipples are extremely common amongst both men and women in the United Kingdom with at least one in ten being affected by the condition to some extreme.

At Aurora Clinics we specialise in a simple procedure to correct inverted nipples, performed under local anaesthetic and taking only 30 minutes.

Aurora is now part of The Private Clinic, please click here to find out more about Inverted Nipple Correction and The Private Clinic. World-renowned plastic surgeon Mr Adrian Richards is part of The Private Clinic expert team.

Considering Inverted Nipple Correction surgery?

Before choosing to undergo nipple correction surgery, we advise you to consider treatments which can help your nipple inversion without surgery. Many people don’t realise there are non-surgical treatments available such as the niplette device and we would always encourage you to explore these before thinking about surgery. However, for permanent inversion, it is likely that surgery will be the only way to reverse the problem.

The Inverted Nipple Correction procedure

As a minor procedure, inverted nipple surgery is routinely performed under local anaesthetic – unless you request otherwise. It’s surprisingly quick too, taking around 15 minutes to treat each nipple.

Surgery involves making an incision around the nipple and dividing or separating the ducts and then allowing the nipple to sit naturally. Soluble internal stitches are used at the base of the nipple to hold it in position whilst it is healing.

It is a very common procedure with very few risks associated with it and the majority of cases work successfully. Recovery after inverted nipple correction surgery usually involves only mild discomfort and the majority of our patients return to work within 1-2 days. The procedure is very straight-forward and in a matter of weeks, you would be unable to tell the nipple had ever been inverted.

One potential side effect that you need to be aware of is that it is highly unlikely that you will be able to breastfeed following this procedure. This is something you’ll need to consider carefully if you are planning to have a family following surgery and would like to breastfeed.

How will it impact on your life?

Many of our patients are extremely embarrassed about their nipple inversion and are reluctant to show or even discuss the condition with friends or family. In fact, many of our patients had not discussed their concerns about their inverted nipples with more than one or two people.

Naturally, this level of embarrassment can cause some very negative issues within intimate relationships, but also with other situations such as undressing in public changing rooms or wearing tight-fitting items of clothing.

Patients often find following surgery they are much more confident and happier with the appearance of their breasts and no longer have to be concerned about disguising their nipples.

Inverted Nipple Correction FAQs

The cause of nipple inversion is an imbalance between the inward traction of the milk ducts and the traction of the muscle within the nipple which pulls the nipple outwards. It is this muscle which contracts when you are cold producing greater prominence of the nipple. If the inward tethering force of the tight, shortened milk ducts is greater than the force exerted by the muscle within the nipple, inverted nipples will result.
Any sudden change in inverted nipples or discharge can indicate an abnormality in the breast tissue itself including cancer and if you have noticed this you should immediately make an appointment to see your GP.

If you have long-standing nipple inversion then it is unlikely that this is a sign of breast cancer and you would be suitable for inverted nipple surgery.
It may be possible for you to breastfeed if your nipples are inverted, but this does depend on the severity of the nipple inversion or the grade.

Inverted nipples can be categorised broadly into 3 grades – with grade 1 nipples exhibiting the mildest degree of inversion, and grade 3 the most severe. If you fall into grade 1 or grade 2, the mildest categories, you may be able to breastfeed. However, if your nipples fall into the grade 3 category, it is likely to be very difficult if not impossible to breastfeed.

Your surgeon will be able to tell you which grade your inverted nipples fall into, or alternatively you can read our guide below to diagnose your own nipple inversion grade.
The severity of inverted nipples is assessed by a grading system. This gives you a guide as to how tight your milk ducts are and the best treatment for correcting your inverted nipples. There are 3 grades in total.

Grade 1 inverted nipples

  • Characterised by being either flat or slightly inverted
  • They stay everted for a short period before returning to a flat or slightly inverted position
  • Grade 1 inverted nipples can, in many cases, be treated with the niplette suction device as the milk ducts are only slightly short in this case and in some instances can be lengthened adequately to provide correction of inverted nipples with suction and gentle stretching of the milk ducts.

Correction for grade 1 inverted nipples

Surgery is appropriate in some cases of grade 1 nipple inversion if you are very concerned about the appearance of your nipples, however it is important to consider that most people with grade 1 inverted nipples can generally breastfeed and if you have surgery you will not be able to breastfeed following your inverted nipple correction procedure.

Grade 2 inverted nipples

  • The inward pull of the milk ducts is stronger than in grade 1 inverted nipples
  • This produces nipple inversion which is normally deeper than in grade 1 cases
  • Your nipples may evert spontaneously or with suction for a time, but will resume their inverted position.

Correction for grade 2 inverted nipples

Some cases of grade 2 inverted nipples do correct with the niplette suction device and you may be able to breastfeed if you have grade 2 inverted nipples. However, if the treatment with the niplette suction device does not adequately control your nipple inversion, then corrective surgery – by division or lengthening of the ducts – may be required to cure your inverted nipples.

Grade 3 inverted nipples

  • The pull of the milk ducts are tighter and shorter and the outward pull of the muscles within the nipple cannot hold the nipple outwards and maintain that position
  • Grade 3 inverted nipples rarely, if ever, evert.

Correction for grade 3 inverted nipples

In grade 3 inverted nipples the milk ducts are very short and tight and it is unlikely that suction devices such as the niplette will adequately cure your inverted nipples in this case. It is possible that some people with grade 3 inverted nipples will be able to breastfeed, but this is unlikely and surgery is usually the preferred option to correct grade 3 nipple inversion.

If you are unsure of the severity of your inverted nipples please feel free to contact us or send photographs of the area and we’ll be happy to give you advice as to the best treatment for your inverted nipples.
At Aurora Clinics we treat over 200 people a year with inverted nipples and many of our patients come from distant areas in the United Kingdom as well as from abroad. Due to the distances involved in travelling to one of our clinics for a consultation, there are a number of different options available:
  • Inverted nipple correction consultation in person
  • Inverted nipple correction consultation and surgery on the same day
  • Inverted nipple correction consultation remotely by Skype
Wherever possible we do prefer to see you in person to allow us to discuss your concerns about your inverted nipples and then to carefully examine the area. We feel this gives us the best opportunity to assess the situation and give you the fullest explanation as to the best treatment for you.

However we do understand that, for a number of reasons, it is sometimes impossible for patients to come and see us on two separate occasions and will do our best to accommodate you via a remote consultation or by combining the consultation and procedure.

For more information on your inverted nipple consultation options click here.
In some cases of inverted nipple correction where the grade of nipple inversion is not severe then it may be possible to treat the inversion with the niplette suction device and avoid surgery altogether.

The niplette is a discreet, plastic cup which you place over your nipple. Using the supplied syringe, you suction out the air then remove the syringe and leave the cup in place. This cup can be worn inside your bra day or night and over time gradually stretches the skin of the nipple and the underlying milk ducts in order to allow full eversion of the nipple.

At Aurora Clinics we would always recommend trying the niplette suction device first if at all possible as it is not only non-invasive, but allows you to retain the ability to breastfeed – in fact it should help make breastfeeding easier compared to many surgical techniques which can reduce your ability to breastfeed.

Whilst the niplette device can be used in all cases, it is unlikely it will be successful in grade 2 or grade 3 nipple inversion. If you have any questions about this device please contact us.
At Aurora we treat over 200 cases of inverted nipple correction per year with a very low recurrence rate and feel that our technique offers the best option both in minimising any scarring and giving good, long term correction of inverted nipples.

The Aurora technique for inverted nipple correction surgery

At Aurora we find that our technique, which involves minimal scarring at the base of the nipple gives the best result as the incision is likely to be barely visible, unlike in other techniques which involve large incisions around the edge of the areola or directly across the nipple.  Likewise we find that, by inserting soluble stitches at the base of the nipple, we can secure the nipple without using artificial materials or skin flaps.

Click here for further information on the Aurora technique.
Many women express a concern that inverted nipple correction might damage the sensation in their nipples. Fortunately this is an extremely rare occurrence and in the majority of cases normal nipple sensation is maintained following the procedure.

This is because during the surgery, the muscle in the nipple wall is left intact, so it will still be able to contract as it did before, and respond to cold and touch as normal. Therefore sensation should be unchanged.
Just as it is possible to breastfeed with inverted nipples, it is also possible to breastfeed after inverted nipple correction – but it does depend on the surgeon’s technique. This is why, if you plan on breastfeeding, it is very important to check with your plastic surgeon which technique will be used before going ahead with surgery.

If your inversion is Grade 1 then your surgeon will correct your inverted nipples by gently stretching the milk ducts in which case your milk ducts will still be open and will be able to convey milk from the breast glands to the nipple after which breastfeeding will still be possible.

If, however, you suffer from Grade 2 or 3 inverted nipples then, in most cases, your surgeon will need to divide the milk ducts in order to correct the inversion. If your milk ducts have been divided then there is no intact channel from the breast glands which produce the milk to your nipple and you will, therefore, be unable to breastfeed.

It is a good idea to fully discuss all your options with your surgeon at your consultation to see what is the best way forward for you.
As with any surgical procedure, the scarring left after inverted nipple surgery will be different in each case. It depends both on the individual patient’s skin and its ability to heal, and on the technique used to carry out the surgery.

The only one of these variables that is within the surgeon’s control is the technique used. At Aurora Clinics, the nipple correction technique we use involves making a very small incision at the base of the nipple. This results in a scar that is very well concealed and almost invisible. It is very unlikely that the scar would be noticed by anyone who did not know surgery had been performed on the area.
Recovery after inverted nipple correction surgery usually involves only mild discomfort with the majority of patients returning to work within 1-2 days. We do advise that you avoid strenuous activities for the first few weeks as this may cause chafing and discomfort.

During the first week your dressings will remain intact and we will give you detailed instructions on how to change the dressing yourself at the end of this week. If you would prefer and are able to come into our clinic we will be happy to change the dressing for you.

You may experience some slight bleeding, swelling, scabbing or bruising around the nipple but this is completely normal and nothing to be worried about. You can apply arnica cream to keep the skin moisturised and take Paracetamol to help with pain-relief.

Full recovery will be around 6 weeks post-surgery where your nipple should now lie in an everted position and most swelling should have settled.

If at any point in your recovery you are concerned that you are not healing properly then please contact our medical staff who can discuss this with you.
As with any type of surgery there are risks associated with inverted nipple correction, although these are very rare and unlikely to occur. Nonetheless, it is best to be well informed about possible risks in order to weigh up the pros and cons of surgery:
  • Risks of local anaesthetic
  • Risks of bleeding
  • Risk of infection
  • Risk of scabbing
  • Risk of inability to breastfeed
We encourage you to consider all the risks very carefully and if you find it helpful our specialist surgeons would be happy to discuss the risks fully with you at your consultation prior to you deciding to proceed with the surgery.

Helpful Inverted Nipple Blogs

The next step

We always encourage people to do as much research as they can when considering cosmetic surgery, so for more information on inverted nipple correction surgery:

To find out more about our inverted nipple treatments please call 0333 920 9135 or click here to book an inverted nipple treatments consultation.