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Causes of Inverted Nipples

dr karent horton inverted nipple repairThe most common cause of inverted nipples is congenital development – in other words, they are normal and occur naturally! Inverted nipples can range from mild and correctable via exposure to cold or squeezing the nipple, to severe and permanently inverted with concerns about hygiene and related deformity of the areola. Inverted nipples tend to run in families, and, interestingly, they are often corrected naturally following breast feeding by chronic sucking on the nipple and stretching out the tight bands responsible for this condition.

On occasion, inverted nipples can occur following trauma, such as an infection of the nipple after a nipple piercing or breast surgery. Rarely, a previously normal nipple that develops inversion without any history of trauma or infection can indicate a malignancy. (Examination by a General Practitioner, OB-GYN or Breast Surgeon is warranted to rule out breast cancer in this unusual situation.)

dr karen horton breast specialist san franciscoFor the majority of women with congenital inverted nipples, the anatomic cause of inversion is the presence of tight bands that run from the surface of the breast tissue under the areola and outwards to the nipple. These tight bands pull the nipple inward, creating a slit-like appearance that can often lead to self-consciousness. Some women have only a single inverted nipple, while others have “bilateral” (both sides) nipple inversion with varying degrees of severity.

Fortunately, nipple surgery can often be an excellent option for women interested in inverted nipple correction. However, it is also important to note that many women are not bothered at all by inverted nipples. Ultimately, seeking correction for inverted nipples is a personal decision, as it should be!

Dr. Karen Horton, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

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For more information about the causes of inverted nipples, or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Horton, please contact us today.



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Dr. Karen M. Horton, M.D. - Plastic Surgery, Physicians & Surgeons - Medical-M.D., San Francisco, CA