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Inverted Nipple Repair

Article-Inverted Nipple Repair

Procedure Description: Women with inverted nipples no longer have to live with this condition. There are two types of procedures that address the problem and can restore the nipples to a beautiful and natural, projecting appearance.

Techniques used today fall into two categories: those that preserve the milk ducts and those that do not.
  1. Inverted nipple repair with partial preservation of milk ducts: Your doctor will administer a local anesthetic as well as a sedative to help you relax. An incision will be made just around the base of the nipple on the areola. The nipple and areola tissue is lifted from (but still connected to) the breast and stitched into a new, projecting shape utilizing a “purse-string” style of suturing. Because of the circular shape of the scar around the nipple, scar contracture will actually increase rather than decrease nipple projection. Medicated gauze is then applied to the site.
  2. Inverted nipple repair with detached milk ducts: This procedure is more common and may be necessary in more difficult cases. Your doctor will apply local anesthetic, and you will be offered a sedative. An incision is made at the nipple base, and the shortened milk ducts are detached, allowing a natural-looking projection of the nipple. The incision is sutured closed, and medicated gauze is applied to the site.

Length of Procedure: Inverted nipple repair takes one to two hours, depending on the technique used and the anatomy of the patient.

Recovery: Your nipples will be covered with medicated gauze. Under the gauze will be tiny, stitched incisions. You may feel a little groggy, which is a side effect of surgery and your body’s efforts to heal.

Most often, swelling is mild to moderate, peaks two or three days after the procedure, and then disappears rapidly over the following three weeks. Most patients report little or no bruising. Sutures (stitches) are usually removed about four days after surgery. You will probably be able to return to work within the 24 to 48 hours, unless your work involves strenuous activity.

Risks: All operations carry some risk and the possibility of complications can include (but are not limited to) infection, unsatisfactory results, excessive bleeding, adverse reaction to anesthesia, and the need for second or sometimes third procedures due to recurrence of the inversion. The ability to breastfeed cannot be guaranteed after any surgery to correct inverted nipples.

Results: Both techniques: The new nipple projection is permanent. Sensation is almost always unchanged.

Because the incisions are at the nipple only, scarring is scarcely visible.

Parachute-flap technique (preserving ducts): Because some of the milk duct system is still attached to the nipple, breastfeeding is likely.

Detached duct technique: You will not be able to breastfeed.

Estimated Cost: The cost for the inverted nipple repair procedure between $2,000 and $4,000.

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