Inverted nipple correction is surgery to correct inverted nipples, which affects around 3% of the female population. Inverted nipples may be present from birth, or may be a result of previous breastfeeding. Inverted nipple correction may interfere with breastfeeding and nipple sensation, and is an elective surgery primarily for cosmetic purposes, as inverted nipples do not generally interfere with normal breastfeeding functions.
During the surgery, depending on the severity of the inversion, the techniques used to correct inverted nipples vary. Usually, a small incision is made, and then the short breast ducts are released or stretched. Next, the nipple is held in place to prevent the nipple from being pulled back inside. Fine sutures are used to close the incisions. The surgery is generally performed under local anesthesia, but can also be done with general anesthesia.
Who is a candidate?
Candidates should be over the age of 18, have inverted nipples, and have realistic expectations about surgery outcomes and the risks associated. They should have no plans to breastfeed in the future.
Who is not a candidate?
Patients who have inverted nipples but may still want to breastfeed in the future are not good candidates for inverted nipple correction. Patients who are currently nursing and/or pregnant should not undergo the surgery.
Like other surgeries, inverted nipple correction requires you to undergo certain general surgery procedures such as preoperative blood testing, medications, and cessation of smoking or use of pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs. You should have undergone a consultation to determine what grade of nipple inversion you have, and discussed risks with your physician.
Soreness, tenderness, and mild swelling at the surgery site generally persists for about 2 weeks. Patients may have sutures that dissolve, or may need to return for a follow-up visit to remove any sutures or stents. Over-the-counter pain medication is generally sufficient for relieving pain during the initial recovery period. Patients can generally return to work 2 to 3 days after surgery, but may need to refrain from intense physical activity for 2 to 3 weeks after the procedure.
Complications are possible with any plastic surgery. As with any surgery, there are risks of complications related to infection, allergies to tape or other surgical materials, or adverse reactions to anesthesia. Bleeding, delayed incision healing, irregular scarring, and damage to deeper structures are also a possibility. These complications can compromise sexual sensation and/or your ability to breastfeed.
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