As many as 10 to 20 percent of women have inverted nipples—those that retract inward rather than protrude outward—according to one widely-accepted estimate, though there’s no way of knowing for sure.
It’s a congenital condition that usually occurs when breast tissue adheres tightly to the base of the nipple, enough to prevent it from sticking out. If you’ve had them from birth, inverted nipples are usually harmless, though they can complicate breastfeeding. If they developed later in life, it’s worth having them checked out. They can be a sign of a medical condition, like breast cancer.
Either way, if your inverted nipples are a constant source of insecurity for you, know that they can be de-inverted with plastic surgery. In fact, nipple procedures have risen sharply in popularity over the last few years, mostly as a result of a growing awareness that such a procedure exists. While more of them are being done than ever before, the increase isn’t necessarily disproportionate to a rise in plastic surgery in general.
As various before-and-after photos flood social media, it seems to be fostering a growing awareness of our bodies, which, in turn, is stirring a desire to improve our appearance, nipples included.
What to expect
As far as what the procedure entails, basically, the abnormally tight connections to the nipple are divided and the nipple is sewn onto itself. It’s a fairly straightforward surgery, though those with fairly large nipples may also need to undergo nipple procedures at a later time. Generally, it’s not recommended that the two procedures be done at the same time.
You should also be aware that your nipples may be more visible under your clothing—which is probably something you’re not used to dealing with.
A less invasive option
Sometimes a small fat graft or a filler, like Juvéderm Voluma or Radiesse, is injected under the nipple to help support the release and prevent the tissue from reattaching and contracting again. The injection procedure costs a fraction of the surgery, though the results are temporary, while the surgery’s are permanent.
Keep in mind, this injection procedure is different from the budding trend where hyaluronic acid fillers are being injected into nipples to increase their volume.
Use of injectable fillers is increasing year over year. And it’s not just the number of fillers that’s growing, but the number of places that patients are starting to request them, too: lips, ear lobes, hands, under eyes, pores, cellulite dimples, and, now, nipples.
For the most part, the industry has come out against nipple fillers. It’s not an FDA-approved use of hyaluronic acid fillers. Even more, it could increase the risk of nipple or breast infections and interfere with breastfeeding. All for a procedure that may be very painful and, best-case scenario, yield results that last only three to six months.