Inverted nipples or retraction of the nipples is a condition in which the nipple ducts are shorter than normal and there is a tethering or pulling inward of the nipple. Retraction of the nipple is caused by a short milk duct system running from the chest wall to the nipple. Although a benign condition, it is usually perceived as a problem for women who wish to breast-feed. Development of nipple retraction in adults should be evaluated to make sure a tumor is not the cause of retraction. Today, there are two types of procedures that address this - those that preserve ductal integrity and those that do not.
Are You A Good Candidate?
As with all elective surgery, good health and realistic expectations are prerequisites, but if you are not concerned about breastfeeding, then inverted nipple repair surgery may be appropriate, especially if:
- You have no known ophthalmic problems like glaucoma or a detached retina, nor any medical condition such as high blood pressure, circulatory problems, hypothyroidism or other thyroid related conditions.
- You tell Dr Mounir about any and all medical conditions and any allergies you may have as well as all medications, herbal supplements or natural supplements you are taking (both prescription and non-prescription).
- You are not prone to scarring problems such as keloids.
- You have a good understanding of the healing process and the limitations of the procedure.
Make sure to discuss all of the options available with your gynecologist before making a decision.
Are There Risks Or Potential Side Effects?
As with all surgeries, there is always a possibility of complications, including infection, a reaction to the anesthesia, hematoma, seroma, nerve damage, the need for second or sometimes third procedures and the occurrence of asymmetries or irregularities. Should infection occur, Dr Mounir will prescribe a treatment with antibiotics.
The ability to breastfeed cannot be guaranteed after any surgery to correct inverted nipples. Be sure to ask Dr Mounir about all of the risks associated with the procedure your considering before you make any decision.
What To Expect Post-Procedure?
The extent of the post-operative swelling and bruising is dependent on whether you tend to bruise or swell easily. The amount you can expect varies for each individual but past surgeries or injuries should be a good indication. Keep your head elevated, above the level of your heart, when lying down. Applying cold compresses, or small ice packs will reduce swelling and relieve discomfort. Many patients use a watertight plastic sandwich bag filled with an ounce of frozen berries or peas. Regular icing is the key to relieving swelling and the resulting pain.
Post surgery, the nipples will be covered with medicated gauze. Under the gauze will be tiny, stitched incisions. As with any surgery, you may feel the after-effects of the anesthetic. Most likely, you will be allowed to leave the hospital within a few hours after the surgery, but you should have someone else drive you home. You will probably be allowed to shower the next day.
As with any surgery, it is also sometimes normal to feel anxious or depressed in the days or weeks following the operation. If there is heavy bleeding or increased pain, be sure to inform Dr Mounir.