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Inverted Nipples, How To Get Them Corrected

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Inverted Nipples, How To Get Them Corrected
July 20
10:15 2016

When we think of cosmetic procedures for the breasts, a few operations spring to mind. We can easily note breast lift mastopexy, which lifts and firms up the breasts; breast reduction surgery to reduce the size of large breasts, and of course, breast augmentation to enlarge, enhance and reshape your mammaries. Correction surgery for inverted nipples, however, is certainly not as readily recalled – even though it can pose an esthetic concern as real as any other.

Dr. Jerome Edelstein, a plastic surgeon at Edelstein Cosmetic in Toronto, said that inverted nipples occur as a result of shortened or scarred breast ducts. The condition could be congenital and have always been there, or it could be a result of an inflammatory situation, such as an infection. Most commonly, however, inverted nipples are congenital, noted Dr. Edelstein.

“I think realistically, you probably would not see it in somebody at birth or when they’re a child,” continued Dr. Edelstein. “It’s more when the breast develop that it would first become apparent. The condition is probably [already] there, but you don’t realize it until the breasts develop at puberty.”

The typical age range for women who seek this nipple correction surgery is approximately 20 to 50 years old, mentioned Dr. Edelstein. Moreover, inverted nipples are mainly a cosmetic concern, and quite often, there is asymmetry between the breasts and many patients that seek surgery want to make their breasts more even. Also, it’s not uncommon for patients to undergo the surgery after initially coming in just for another cosmetic surgery for the breasts.

“They’ll often come in for breast augmentation or breast implants and say, ‘You know what? I really hate this inverted nipple.’ So, that’s the other time when I’ll do the surgery in conjunction with something else.”

Moreover, the severity of the problem varies from person to person.

Inverted Nipples, How To Get Them Corrected

Inverted Nipples, How To Get Them Corrected

“There’s different degrees of inversion,” noted Dr. Edelstein. “The more severe it is, the less you are able to get the nipple out and press and push on it, and those individuals will have trouble breast feeding their children. Basically, the nipples inverted, so the baby can’t latch on, can’t get a hold of the nipple. So that’s something that can follow from it, but people don’t normally come to get it treated because of that.”

In addition to esthetic concerns and difficulty breastfeeding, inverted nipples can be a sign of something far more serious: breast cancer.

“Inverted nipple for sure could be a sign,” cautioned Dr. Edelstein. “One of the key things that should be looked into and ruled out is breast cancer, so that’s important. The cancer is just underneath the nipple areola region, and as it grows, for whatever reason it will pull on the ducts. The main thing to emphasize is that it’s kind of like you would be 50 years old, you never had an inverted nipple, and then all of a sudden you have an inverted nipple. It’s like a spontaneous thing that develops; you never had it before.” Dr. Edelstein noted that fixing an inverted nipple is quite simple.

It’s a procedure done under local anesthesia and it’s a same-day operation with no downtime involved, where you are up and mobile right away afterwards.

“Basically, what you have to do is essentially make a very small incision right next to the nipple,” elaborated Dr. Edelstein. “Usually, that heals unbelievably, you can’t even see it. And you divide the ducts. So you divide the ducts, and then, what you need to do is put what we call bolsters, little pieces of material [that] are sutured onto the nipple, sort of side-to-side and top-to-bottom to hold the nipple out while it heals. Those are usually on for two weeks.”

After two weeks, the patient comes back to the office and has the stitches snipped and the bolsters taken off. Dr. Edelstein added that the procedure is not painful and the only part of the process that causes some discomfort is having the freezing put in.

“Once the surgery is done and the freezing wears off, I just find people don’t complain of a lot of pain. And taking the bolsters out is not painful either. So it’s really, other than the freezing, a painless procedure.”

After the surgery, when the bolsters are taken off, the nipples can look almost overcorrected and very big, recounted Dr. Edelstein. Gradually, over a period of six to eight weeks, the nipples settle back to a normal size.

There are minor risks with the nipple correction procedure, such as infection and a very slight chance of having the nipple inversion slowly reoccur.

For the most part though, the surgery is very safe and once the operation is complete, your nipples will look good as new—and one would be hard-pressed to tell that you had underwent any kind of procedure at all.

“Once it’s healed and everything is settled, you wouldn’t be able to tell. That little incision that you make to do the procedure heals so well, you can’t even see it,” summed up Dr. Edelstein. “It’s really tiny, it’s about a three millimeter incision next to the nipple in the red part of the areola, and it heals so well. You can’t even see the scar. So really, you can’t tell.”

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