Inverted Nipples

Approximately 10-20% of the female population has inverted nipples, a condition that is also present in some men. For the majority of patients, the issue has been present since puberty and does not indicate any underlying medical issues. Inverted nipples may be pulled back into the breast or be flat on the breasts surface. They are a result of the nipple being ‘pulled in’ due to the milk ducts being too short to allow the nipple to protrude.

The Skinny

Inverted Nipples
avg. recovery
2 weeks
Is permanent
Minor Surgical Procedure
$2000 - $4000

About the Procedure

Last Updated: 09.25.2020

Nipple inversion severity is evaluated on a scale of 1 to 3. The level of inversion will be assessed by your physician, during an initial consultation, before deciding on the best course of action. Level 1: sometimes referred to as ‘shy nipple,’ Level 1 is the most minor level of inversion. It is assigned when the nipple responds to stimulation — it may protrude temporarily before returning to an inverted position. Level 2: the nipple remains inverted at all times, but can be pulled out without too much resistance. Level 3: this is the most severe level of nipple inversion. The nipple will remain inverted despite attempts to stimulate it. This is usually a result of scarring or tissue constriction. Patients who are having inverted nipple surgery in order to breastfeed can have a procedure designed to partially preserves the milk ducts. Inverted nipple repair with partial preservation of milk ducts usually involves a local anesthetic and a sedative before surgery. An incision is typically placed around the areola (the dark-skinned area surrounding the nipple), followed by the nipple and areola tissue being lifted from the breast and stitched into a new shape. The lifted nipple and tissue is not disconnected from the breast with this technique. Inverted nipple surgery with milk duct detachment is typically reserved for patients who are not planning to breastfeed. The procedure can be performed using a local anesthetic in combination with a sedative. An incision is made at the base of the nipple, detach the milk ducts, and reshape the nipple for the desired results. Both inverted nipple surgery techniques generally take only about an hour to complete on an outpatient basis.

The goal of inverted nipple surgery is to allow the nipple to become erect and improve the appearance of the nipple.

Recovery Notes

Avoid strenuous exertion for 1-2 weeks after inverted nipple correction surgery. There will be some discomfort. Bruising is rare and the majority of patients are back at work within 1 day to 1 week of the operation. Overall healing and recovery time typically takes 4 weeks.

Ideal Candidate

The ideal candidate for inverted nipple surgery has one or both nipples inverted and is self conscious of their appearance.

Not Recommended For

Inverted nipple surgery is not recommended for patients who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or patients who plan to breastfeed in the future as this surgery may compromise the ability to do so.

Side Effects

Side effects from inverted nipple surgery may include scarring, infection, asymmetry, poor nipple position, changes in sensation, and the inability to breastfeed.


  • Improved aesthetics
  • Permanent


  • Compromised ability to breastfeed


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