Probably due to discomfort, women’s breasts often stay away from conversations and discussions. After having a baby most of the ladies realize that they haven’t been aware of the shape and structure of the nipples of their own breast. And this sometimes leads to problems in the future.

Generally speaking, the nipples are three types – normal, flat, and inverted. They can vary from person to person. In fact, they could even be different from breast to breast. So there is nothing unnatural if your breast and nipples are different from these of your friends. However, some structures of the breast such reversed nipples can be an aesthetic problem that seriously affects self-esteem. Also, it is often associated with breastfeeding problems.

Usually, inverted nipples are a natural occurrence that is not related to serious health complications. You may want to reverse them for aesthetic reasons or if you are planning to become pregnant.

Here we will give you more information about this condition and what are the treatment methods in Singapore.

What are inverted nipples?

This is a condition where instead of facing outward the nipple is retracted into the breast. That condition is often called retracted nipples. You might be born with them or you may develop inverted nipples later in your life. Anyone can get this kind of nipples and this includes men as well.

Why my nipples are inverted?

Inverted nipples can be congenital and acquired. There is no specific reason why you might be born with them but they do often run in families. Acquired inverted nipples can be due to different reasons such as:

  • breast abscess;
  • pregnancy;
  • improper breastfeeding;
  • injuries;
  • fatty necrosis;
  • recurrent infections;
  • ectasia of the milk ducts;
  • mastitis.

Grades of inverted nipples

There are three types and categorizations of inverted nipples:

  • Grade 1 – the nipple is easily pulled with a finger or by pressure on the areola. Often the nipple just stands out without any additional impact. Normally, the mammary ducts are not affected and breastfeeding is not difficult.
  • Grade 2 – the nipple is pulled a little harder and sinks immediately after it is released. The milk ducts have a moderate degree of fibrosis, which makes breastfeeding somewhat difficult.
  • Grade 3 – there is severe nipple indentation that requires an operation. The ducts of the mammary gland are very narrow, which makes breastfeeding very difficult. In most cases, it is impossible to pull the nipple out.

What causes inverted nipples in males?

Inverted nipples in men are more of a cosmetic problem than anything else. They are normally caused by the same reasons as inverted nipples in women. In some cases, the nipple inversion can be due to gynecomastia.

Should I be worried about inverted nipples?

Normally, inverted nipples are nothing to worry about. In most of the cases, they are not related to any health problems. If you were born with retracted nipples and you have had them all of your life they do not pose a danger to your health. If you have not had inverted nipples and they suddenly or over a period of time invert this can be a sign that there is something going wrong with the underlying mammary glands. This can be inflammation of the breast tissue but it can be also a more serious disease including breast cancer. If you have an inverted nipple and lump in breast or symptoms such as skin irritation and redness, it is very important to see a doctor as soon as possible.

Inverted nipple treatment

There are some different inverted nipple treatments and procedures but a lot of them might be not efficient. The treatment normally depends on the degree of inversion. The only permanent method that gives reliable results is inverted nipple surgery. This operation can be performed in two ways. The first of them is with partial preservation of milk ducts and the second – with detached milk ducts.

Inverted nipple surgery in Singapore

Before surgical treatment of the inverted nipples in Singapore, you should undergo a complete examination to rule out the presence of breast cancer. In addition, the doctor will take into account your plans for pregnancy when choosing the procedure for the operation. If you still want to have children in the future, which, of course, involves breastfeeding, the doctor chooses more subtle techniques performing partial preservation of milk ducts. In cases where you no longer plan to have children in the future or do not plan to breastfeed, another method of nipple improvement is preferred – with detached milk ducts.

Operation with preservation of milk ducts

With this method, the doctor makes a minimal incision at the base of the areola dissecting connective tissue that prevents the nipple from stretching. This procedure preserves the integrity of the milk ducts, which preserves the ability to breastfeed in the future.

Operation with detached milk ducts

With this method, the surgeon cuts the connective tissue under the nipple, including the milk ducts, which releases the nipple and takes the correct position. With this technique, breastfeeding is impossible in the future.

Both operations take one or two hours. They are usually performed under local anaesthesia. The nipple area is cleaned and a very small incision is made at the base of the nipple, the ducts are divided teased out through a very small incision and then an absorbable internal stitch is used to hold the base of the nipple together and stop the inversion.

Usually, it is a very successful procedure with minimal scarring and minimal downtime required.

Inverted nipple surgery – recovery time

After the operation, you may have some swelling and bruising in the intervention area that will disappear in several weeks. There may also be a decrease in nipple sensitivity. The healing process takes about one week. However, it is recommended to not use the solarium, baths, saunas, and also to avoid strenuous physical activity within a month after the intervention.

Inverted nipple surgery – risks and complications

Every surgery is related to some kind of side effects. Complications from inverted nipple correction may include infection, hematoma formation, or asymmetry. Damage to nerve endings and scarring can also be some of the complications of the surgery.

To prevent infections it is important to follow the surgeon’s instructions. In terms of the scars, today there are quite effective techniques that completely remove the scars or at least make them invisible.

How to fix inverted nipples without surgery?

Grade one is often best treated by suction devices. You can find them under different names – cups, breast shells, or nipple retractors. These devices stretch the milk ducts to make them protrude. However, you should understand that these devices don’t work for everyone. If suction devices have been effective for someone it doesn’t mean that they will give the same result to you. However, it is worth trying them as they are not expensive at all.

Inverted nipples: breastfeeding solutions

As we said inverted nipples can make breastfeeding difficult. The good news is that it is still possible if the inversion is mild. Here are some tips for nursing with reversed nipples:

  • Nipple stimulation. There are different ways to do this. You can try to bring out your nipple with your fingers just before breastfeeding. Another way is by applying a cold compress to the nipple area. Cold stimulates the nerves which may help the nipple to stick out.
  • Use a breast pump. Each pump can help pull the nipple out. However, you need to be careful when you are using breast pumps because they may cause damage to the nipple or breast.
  • Silicone protector. If the baby flatly refuses to breastfeed, then you can try breastfeeding with silicone protectors. It is very important to choose the right size for you. The size of the silicone nipple is relative to the size of your nipple, not the size of the baby’s mouth.

Before using any technique or device consult a lactation consultant who can give you the best medical advice.

Inverted nipples correction surgery: cost in Singapore

The average cost of inverted nipple correction surgery in Singapore is $2000 – $ 3000. The good thing about this operation is that it is permanent so you will need to do it only once.

Is inverted nipple surgery covered by insurance?

In most situations, inverted nipple surgery is considered a cosmetic procedure. Therefore many insurance companies will not cover such operation. However, you may want to contact your insurance provider to make an inquiry yourself.

5 interesting things to know about inverted nipples

  • Inverted nipples are more common than you think – 10 to 20 % of women have reversed nipples.
  • You may have inversion just on the one nipple, while the other protrudes.
  • Reversed nipples are less common in men than in women.
  • The shape of your nipples may change during pregnancy.
  • In some cases, a nipple piercing can improve this condition.

The bottom line

Truly inverted nipples remain reversed in any situation. Grade 3 inverted nipples can be corrected only surgically before pregnancy or after breastfeeding. You should understand that if you undergo surgery you probably will not be able to breastfeed.