Inverted nipples and breast cancer – what you need to know
Aurora is now part of The Private Clinic, a nationwide group of clinics with over 35 years of experience specialising in Cosmetic Surgery and Skin and a Trust Pilot 5 star rating. For comprehensive information, before and after photos and costs on Nipple procedures click here
As you may know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The campaign is recognised globally and is marked by a burst of events to raise awareness and funds to improve early detection and treatment of the disease.
At Aurora, we’ve chosen to mark the month by supporting Against Breast Cancer’s ‘Bin Your Bra’ initiative.
The charity is asking people to donate their unwanted bras at special collection points around the country so they can be shipped to Africa. For every tonne collected, Against Breast Cancer will receive £1,000.
Events like these are fantastic for shining a spotlight on the disease, but it’s more important than ever to be vigilant all year round.
Most women know to check for unusual lumps in their breasts. But one potential symptom of breast cancer which doesn’t get as much press is the sudden development of inverted nipples.
The link between inverted nipples and breast cancer
Let’s start by saying that in the vast, vast majority of cases, inverted nipples are NOT symptomatic of breast cancer.
Naturally occurring inverted nipples are found in roughly 10% of the population, both male and female. They’re present from birth and, for women in particular, become more noticeable after puberty.
This is because they’re caused by overly short, tight milk ducts. As the external breast tissue develops during puberty, the nipples are tethered inwards by the taut underlying milk glands. So the nipple remains inverted inside the breast.
They occur with varying degrees of severity (see here for more on inverted nipple grades), and can be easily corrected surgically.
But if you’ve never had inverted nipples before, and they’ve appeared over a period of months or weeks, you need to take note. It means something is changing with your underlying milk ducts. This will usually be down to something benign like inflammation or infection, which can be easily treated. But in rare cases, it can be a sign of diseases of the breast, including cancer.
What to do if you suddenly develop inverted nipples
If your nipples have become inverted over a short period of time, you need to go and see your GP.
They will assess your breasts and may refer you to a breast surgeon who can examine your breast tissue. You may also be offered a scan to exclude the possibility of anything sinister going on.
The chances are it will be something easily treated and relatively harmless. But you need to see your doctor find out for sure. It’s a cliche but it’s true – you can never be too careful when it comes to your health.
Can inverted nipples be treated?
Inverted Nipples can be corrected surgically, although we do still recommend that if they are a new occurrence to visit your GP for advice first. Inverted nipple surgery is carried out under local anaesthetic as a day case patient meaning you will be able to return home the same day. The surgery takes around 15 minutes per nipple and depending on the underlying cause of your inverted nipples, two different approaches can be taken. In the majority of cases, an incision will be made at the base of the nipple which will release the milk ducts and fibres that are causing the nipple to retract and appear inverted. Biodegradable sutures are used to hold the nipple in its new position during the recovery process. Alternatively, an incision can be made to divide or free the milk ducts and problematic fibres internally but your surgeon will advise on the best procedure for you ahead of your surgery.
Full recovery from inverted nipple surgery does take 6 weeks but many patients are able to return to work within 1-2 days of their procedure. You will be required to wear bandages over the nipple area so you may prefer to wear looser fitting clothing for comfort during this time. Exercise should ideally be avoided for at least 2 weeks to avoid any unnecessary friction to the area.
The main consideration for inverted nipple surgery is that you we are unable to gurantee your ability to breast feed following a nipple correction procedure so it is something you may want to think over if you are planning to breastfeed in the future.
Inverted Nipple Surgery at The Private Clinic
The Private Clinic sees over 15,000 new patients every year and performns over 10,000 procedures, with one of the highest –patients’ satisfaction in the sector, Trustpilot 9.4, 5-star rating, 93% would recommend us to their friends and family. We are a multi-award winning provider and have been voted the Aesthetic award for Best UK Clinic Group 2017. The Private Clinic prides itself on its commitment to Medical Expertise, Patient Care and Satisfaction, Honest advice and most importantly Results. We are above all committed to Quality. Please feel free to contact us for any advice or to book a consultation with one of our expert Breast surgeons.
At The Private Clinic, Nipple Surgery is one of our specialisms, and we have a number of BAAPS registered surgeons who offer the treatment. For more information on any of the nipple surgery procedures above, or to book a consultation, please contact us on 0333 920 2471 or use our online contact form.