Inverted Nipple Repair St. Louis

Nipple Retraction Correction

Just as no two breasts are exactly alike, sometimes women have different nipples too. As a woman’s breasts mature through puberty, she may find that one or both nipples became flattened or even retracted. This can make her less confident about her breasts. If this sounds familiar, one of our surgeons may be able to help correct the inverted nipple(s). Often this can be done in the office with local numbing medications. Afterward padding will be applied to help protect the more projecting nipple, and prevent compression by bras and clothing during the initial healing period.

*Note – If someone had regular nipples throughout life but suddenly experienced a change including retraction of the nipple, bloody discharge, or firmness, this can be a sign of a more serious process that needs additional workup and evaluation. In this case, it is recommended to be evaluated by your normal breast health provider (primary care physician or OBGYN) and to have updated mammograms prior to seeking plastic surgical evaluation.


  • Length: 15-30min per nipple
  • Anesthesia: Local numbing injection
  • Office procedure
  • Recovery: 1-3 days
  • Side Effects: Bruising, swelling, tenderness, sensitivity, decreased projection over time


  • Elevate a flattened nipple
  • Make a depressed nipple more projecting
  • Improve nipple symmetry
  • Increase confidence about breast appearance

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Before & After

Patient #7005

Inverted Nipple Repair
Inverted Nipple Repair

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Smoking and all forms of nicotine should be stopped at least 2 weeks prior to any nipple surgery. This includes e-cigarettes, patches, and gum.

Any medications and supplements which cause an increased risk of bleeding should also be stopped 2 weeks prior to any major surgery. Please see our list of medications and supplements to avoid. As always, make sure to check with your doctor before stopping any medications.


Your surgeon will evaluate the flattened or inverted nipple, ensure any oncologic concerns are addressed, and discuss corrective options depending on the amount of retraction and any future breastfeeding plans. Sometimes the milk ducts can be spared while correcting the inversion, but other times these may need to be cut. After injecting numbing medication into the area, your surgeon will make a discrete ¼ to ½ inch incision in the lower, outer nipple area, divide the ligaments responsible for contraction, and then use long-acting, dissolvable sutures to internally support the newly elevated nipple while it heals. Postoperative dressings and padding will be placed to protect the nipple from compression, which the patient can then perform at home for the next 6-8 weeks until healing is complete.


This is an office procedure performed under a local anesthetic. Patients can drive themselves to the appointment, without eating or drinking restrictions. This is not an overly painful procedure, and most patients need only Tylenol or other over-the-counter pain medications for a few days afterward. Most patients can resume normal light activities immediately, and shower within 24-48 hours. Avoid heavy lifting or straining for 1 week. Nipple pads and protection will need to be worn for 6-8 weeks afterward.

Do you Have a Question?

A: No. This is considered a cosmetic procedure. Call Chesterfield Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery today to schedule your consultation.
A: Patients need to avoid compression of the newly elevated nipple for at least 6-8 weeks after correction. This can be done with stacked gauze, pads, or other simple solutions such as Dr. Scholl’s corn & callous pads.
A: This depends on whether one or both sides are being corrected. Also, most nipples will lose approximately 50% of the immediate postprocedure projection over 1 year. Our surgeons use meticulous techniques to try and make the nipples as symmetric as possible. They will take into account the anticipated settling of the nipple, and may recommend a slight overcorrection so that the final, lasting result is at the desired length.

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