Inverted nipples, enlarged nipples or widened areolae are a remarkably common concern in both men and women. Nipple or areolar correction surgery can have excellent aesthetic results and can usually be carried out under local anaesthetic as a day case or outpatient procedure. It is sometimes performed alongside other surgery, such as a breast augmentation.
Inverted nipples result from unusually shortened milk (lactiferous) ducts, which are cut in order to bring the nipples back out.
Areolar reduction involves a scar around the edge of the areola, and nipple reduction (either shortening or narrowing) leaves a scar on the nipple itself.
The procedure is relatively minor in terms of recovery and most patients are able to return to their usual activities straight away. The sutures used will either dissolve or need to be removed at 2 weeks. A small dressing is applied and this will be removed at one week at the first post-operative visit.
Anaesthetic: usually Local Anaesthetic
Hospital stay: none
Surgery time: 30-60 minutes
Time off work: none
Reasonably mobile: immediately
Washing: keep dry until wound check (one week)
Full recovery: 1-2 weeks for scar healing
Driving: next day
Exercise: 2 weeks
Analgesia (pain relief) - Ibuprofen and paracetamol can be taken
Surgical skin tapes should be left in place until the wound check and replaced as necessary thereafter
Please get in touch if you should develop a red or tender wound or notice you have a high temperature
After inverted nipple correction I recommend the use of a suction device, such as the Nipplette, to reduce the risk of recurrence of nipple inversion. This should be used from 3 weeks after surgery for a total of two months. At first you should wear it as comfort permits, quickly building up to 8 hours per day 7 days per week.
Risks and Complications
The most important thing to be aware of is that it is unlikely you would be able to breast feed following inverted nipple correction. If that is a potential concern then you should defer surgery until after you have completed your family. Other risks include a visible scar, infection, recurrence and further surgery. Please discuss this with your surgeon.