An inverted nipple is a condition defined as the nipple, which is retracted inwards, rather than pointing outwards, as is seen in normal anatomy. It can occur in both sexes and can be congenital or acquired. The projection of the inverted nipple lies beneath the areolar plane, as opposed to the normal anatomic position where it projects beyond the plane of the areolar breast. The appearance can be psychologically disturbing, as well as being problematic during breastfeeding in nursing women. As many as 10% to 20% of females are born with one or more inverted nipples, and they may be completely asymptomatic until breastfeeding. The appearance can be cosmetically undesired and worrisome. The benign inverted nipple must be differentiated from primary breast malignancy.
Some women are born with or develop inverted nipples, which can be a source of embarrassment or self-consciousness. In some cases, inverted nipples can represent early breast pathology such as breast cancer. In others, they are a cosmetic or even a functional problem. The correction of inverted nipples relates to the severity of the inversion. The correction is aimed at releasing scarred or tethering ducts, which invert the nipple while preserving normal ducts, thereby maintaining the ability to breast-feed. Most approaches involve small incisions at the base of the nipple, which heal with imperceptible scars. Sensation is typically unaffected. It is imperative, however, that breast pathology be ruled out before any correction is considered. This is particularly true in new onset nipple inversion where breast disease may be responsible.
The correction to benign or congenitally inverted nipples depends on the severity of the inversion. An appropriate procedure will be chosen during the initial consultation with Dr. Hainer. Often, the procedure can be done under local anesthesia as an in-office procedure with minimal to no downtime and discomfort.