Inverted nipples are actually a very common problem for both women and men, with one in ten thought to be affected, although many people find they cannot talk about the problem and are unaware that there is a solution.
Inverted nipples can cause a great deal of embarrassment and distress and sometimes can even result in issues with personal relationships. The majority of patients that undergo an inverted nipple correction procedure are extremely satisfied with the results.
Inverted nipples are caused by an imbalance between the milk ducts and the muscles that usually pull the nipples outwards. If the milk ducts are shorter or tighter than normal, then this muscle is incapable of keeping the nipples in the typical position.
Prior to undergoing inverted nipple correction surgery, Mr Sudip Gosh will first advise you on non-surgical techniques that could help depending on the degree of inversion. Inverted nipples are categorised into three different grades.
Grade 1 nipples appear either flat or just slightly inverted and can often be treated with a niplette suction device which will gently lengthen the milk ducts so the nipples can stay everted.
With grade 2 inverted nipples, the inward pull is greater and the nipples are more deeply inverted. They may be able to evert with suction but tend to quickly resume their inverted position. For many people with grade 2 inverted nipples, surgery is the best option. For grade 3 inverted nipples, surgery is almost always the preferred solution as the nipples are very inverted and breastfeeding is usually impossible.
What happens during an inverted nipple correction?
This is a relatively straightforward procedure that is performed under a local anaesthetic and will take approximately 30 minutes if both nipples are affected. Mr Ghosh will make an incision around the nipple and separate the ducts so the nipple moves into a natural position. Internal dissolvable stitches are made to keep the nipple in this position during the healing process.
What are the potential risks of inverted nipple correction?
This procedure is performed under a local anaesthetic so there are none of the risks associated with general anaesthetic. There are the usual risks that can occur after an incision is made including infection, bleeding and bruising, but these are very minimal. Downtime usually only takes a day or two.
One potential risk that will be discussed at your Buckinghamshire consultation is that you are likely not to be able to breastfeed after undergoing this procedure and this may be something to factor into the timing of this operation if you are planning to start or continue your family afterwards.
However, not all women find they are able to breastfeed naturally after childbirth and inverted nipples can be one of the reasons; those with grade 3 inverted nipples can find it difficult if not impossible to breastfeed.
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