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Inverted Nipples

Inverted Nipples

Around 10–20% of all women are born with a condition where the nipple is retracted into the breast instead of pointing outward, known as an inverted nipple. In some cases the inverted nipple will temporarily protrude if stimulated, but quickly retract back into the breast. There are several known causes of this condition, sometimes known as invaginated nipple, but inverted nipples can be a very embarrassing anatomical defect for women, impacting their self-confidence and self-image.

You may suffer from mild to severe nipple inversion and it can be caused by something as simple as genetics, or as severe as cancer. Scars, fat necrosis, and surgery can cause inverted nipples, as can sudden, major weight loss, breasts experiencing drooping, sagging, ptosis, abscesses, mastitis, or mammary duct ectasia. Most women born with the condition do so due to short ducts or a wide areola muscle sphincter that causes the inversion. Women with severely inverted nipples may also struggle with infections, rashes, or difficulties with nipple hygiene.

Inverted nipples can be a very embarrassing anatomical defect for women, impacting on their self-confidence. It can be a genetic deformity or develop after breastfeeding. It may also be a sign of underlying breast disease if it happens spontaneously. There are varying degrees of inversion, ranging from mild, moderate to severe.

Mild inversion:  

The nipple inversion is easily corrected manually, or everts promptly when aroused or cold.

Severe inversion:  

The nipple will not evert easily with manual manipulation. Eversion does not occur in cold weather or if manually aroused.

Non-Surgical treatment:  

Suction devices have been tried, however, these have not proven to be very successful, and permanent eversion will not occur.

Surgical treatment: 

This varies according to the cause and severity of the inversion. The surgical choice will be explained to you at the time of your consultation.


Surgical excision/removal of the constricting bands causing the nipple to invert. Small incisions are made at the base of the nipple.

Duration of Procedure: 

1-2 hours.


Local anaesthesia with or without intravenous sedation. General anaesthetic on request or as decided by your surgeon.


Discharged on the same day. Back to work within 1-2 days. Gentle exercise within 7 days. Strenuous exercise within 4-6 weeks.


Permanent correction of the nipple inversion. Small feint scars at the base of the nipple. Improved self-esteem and confidence.

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