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Nipple correction is a common procedure to correct enlarged, unequal, inverted and protruding nipples seen in men and women. The variations in nipples are the result of a muscle friction imbalance, where outward muscle strength is weaker than inward and cannot sustain strong pull which causes the muscle retraction. Nipple inversion can be seen in both men and women either by birth or due to many other reasons. This surgery corrects the constricted nipples and enhances the shape of the breasts.
Causes of inverted nipples
- Ageing and drooping breasts
- Gynecomastia in males
- Injury to the breast area which cause permanent scarring of the tissue
- In rare cases appearance of inverted nipples all of a sudden is a sign of breast cancer
- A history and physical record and a CBC blood test are the minimum requirements for adult patient.
- A mammogram, a breast X-ray should be provided to reveal the breast’s composition and degree of scar tissue or to rule out the very small possibility of breast cancer.
Treatment options of inverted nipples
Nipple inversions can be solved using a simple suction device which brings back the tissue to its normal position. However this works only when the inversion is small and due to contraction of muscles or milk ducts. In extreme cases of inversion, surgery is the option which depends on the cause of inversion
Before the surgery
- Depending on the severity of retraction the surgeon may choose either suction or surgical approach to correct the inversion
- The patient may need to provide a complete medical history to the surgeon.
- The patient’s breasts will be examined to check for the extent of the nipple inversion.
- The patient may need to get medical clearance two weeks prior to surgery.
- Should stop smoking and refrain from taking aspirin products two weeks prior to surgery.
- The patient will be instructed not to eat or drink anything after midnight before the surgery.
During the surgery
- A small unnoticeable incision is made under the nipple which will be invisible over time.
- A very small instrument will be inserted through the incision to release the connective fibres and duct which form the inverted nipple.
- A suture will be made below the nipple to maintain its position. The procedure of inverted nipple correction with separation of milk duct will be done for those patients who don’t have to breastfeed in future.
After the surgery
- The nipples will be sensitive and sore after the procedure which will subside in a couple of days. This can be controlled with medication.
- Most of the patients can take shower the next day. The sutures are removed in the first consultation after the surgery which will be about 5 days post surgery.
- The patient can return to work in 48 hours and strenuous activities should not be done for up to one month.
- After the procedure, the recovery time will take approximately two weeks.
- The skin around the nipples feels tight and also has some bruising and swelling after the treatment around the surgical area.
- There is also some level of sensitivity which lasts for a couple of weeks
- It is crucial to avoid strenuous activities at least for a week and patient can perform normal activities and exercise after a month.
- The swelling and bruising will subside gradually. Also, the nipples may look prominent promptly after the surgery because of the swelling which will disappear slowly.
- A scar cream will be provided which can be used after the wound has closed to improve the healing process effectively.