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How To Treat An Inverted Nipple Without Surgery

Can Niplette Treat Your Inverted Nipples? Read about this non-surgical option

Just as breasts come in different colours, shapes, and sizes, so do nipples. They can be protruding, flat, or even inverted. Having inverted nipples is common. They can, however, be a cosmetic concern. Moreover, they may also make breastfeeding difficult. You can try to draw out your nipples using home remedies and manually stimulating them using the Hoffman technique. If that doesn’t work out for you, you might want to consider a different non-surgical treatment with the Niplette. The Niplette is an option to treat inverted nipples without surgery.

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What are inverted nipples?

Nipples are located at the centre of your breasts and are attached to the glands that produce milk (your mammary glands). The areola is the pigmented skin that surrounds your nipples. Together, your nipple and areola form the NAC (nipple-areola complex).

Having short milk ducts can result in flat or inverted nipples. If your nipples are not raised above the level of your areola and instead lay evenly against it, then you have flat nipples. If they pull inwards instead of outwards, even after being stimulated, then you have inverted nipples. Around 10% of women have at least one flat or inverted nipple.

Even though flat nipples may look different, they should function the same, even during breastfeeding. In some cases, however, it might be more difficult for your baby to latch on to your breasts and breastfeed if your nipples don’t stick out.

How does a Niplette work?

A lot of people wonder “Can inverted nipples be treated without inverted nipple surgery”? The answer is possibly, and it comes in the form of the Niplette.

The Philips Niplette is a device that provides non-surgical correction of inverted nipples. It’s made up of a transparent nipple cup and a sealing flange attached to a valve and syringe port. It works by applying suction to your nipples. This repeated suction aims to lengthen the short milk ducts pulling back on your nipples. After a while, your nipples could eventually stick out on their own. By then, you might not have to use the device anymore or only need to do so intermittently.

One study showed that more than 80% of women using the Niplette are able to pull out their nipples and fill their Niplette cup by their first follow-up appointment. Furthermore, more than 90% of women are able to discontinue using the device after only three months once their nipples are sticking out. The study also noted that all pregnant women who have used the Niplette have been able to breastfeed without difficulties, although half of them couldn’t breastfeed before.

How to use Niplette

Almost all patients find the Niplette easy to use. All you need to do is follow the below instructions;

  • Before setting up the Niplette, rub your nipples with ointment very well.
  • First, push the syringe firmly into the open end of the valve until it’s secured.
  • Then, with one hand, place the cup of the Niplette over the areola of your inverted nipple.
  • With the other hand, pull the syringe as firmly as comfortable.
  • When you pull on the syringe, the air is withdrawn, and your nipple will be sucked into the cup.
  • After your nipple has been pulled out, let go of the niplette, and carefully separate the syringe from the valve.

After you have completed these simple steps, you can hide the Niplette under your clothes and freely go about your day. You should wear it for up to eight hours a day. Remember that you are in control of the suction, and you should only pull on the nipple as firmly as comfortable.

Is using a Niplette safe?

If you don’t stick to the recommendations, you might run into a little trouble, for example;

  • Infection: The Niplette cannot be sterilized, so using it on lactating breasts could lead to an infection.
  • Bleeding: Pulling too hard on the nipples could make them crack and bleed.
  • Sore nipples: Repeated usage of the device could make your nipples sore. Using lotion or nipple ointment will help soothe and hydrate your nipples after prolonged usage of the Niplette.

Make sure you consult with a healthcare professional before you start using the Niplette.

Is a Niplette effective?

Suction devices like the Niplette work by sucking the nipple into a small cup. This suction helps the nipple protrude and point outwards instead of turning inwards. Using such devices repeatedly for an extended period of time will help to loosen up your nipples. Eventually, the nipples stay erect for a longer time on their own.

The Niplette could be your best shot to treat your inverted nipples without surgery. It may not work for everyone. Most women end up with protruded nipples, while others don’t. If you have Grade 3 inversion or the Niplette isn’t working for you, you could consider going for surgery.

What are the other options to treat inverted nipples?

Although the Niplette could give you results, if you want permanent results, you may need inverted nipple surgery. This surgery is a cosmetic procedure that only takes about an hour to alter the appearance and projection of your nipples.

Dr Craig Rubinstein and our surgeons at Coco Ruby Plastic Surgery may recommend inverted nipple surgery because it can alter the appearance of the nipple. During this procedure, a local anaesthetic is used so that your surgeon can lift both your nipple and areolas into a protruding position.

Are inverted nipples worrying?

If you’ve always had inverted nipples, from childhood or puberty, then you should know that it’s common. It’s usually not a cause of worry.

In such cases, the milk ducts connected to the nipple are short, and they tend to pull it back. It is also not uncommon to get inverted nipples after surgery, pregnancy, or breastfeeding.

But if you’ve noticed that your nipples have recently and suddenly turned and started pointing inwards, then you should check with your doctor. In rare cases, a nipple turning inwards could be a sign of breast cancer or an underlying bacterial infection.

What are the grades of inverted nipples?

The level of nipple inversion is determined by grades. Nipple inversion has three grades. The more severe the inversion, the higher the grade. Here’s how you can figure out the grade of your nipple inversion:

  • Grade One
    • This is the least severe degree.
    • If your nipple is drawn out for a while after you pinch your areola or during breastfeeding, then you have grade one inversion.
    • Grade one inverted nipples could also stand out on their own with cold or other stimulation.
  • Grade Two
    • Nipples with grade two inversion can still be pulled out but with more difficulty than grade one.
    • Once released, the nipple will quickly go back into its inverted shape.
    • This can cause difficulty while breastfeeding.
  • Grade Three
    • If you’re not able to draw out your nipple at all, then you’re a grade three.
    • This is the most severe grade and you might not be able to breastfeed at all.

Manually pulling your nipple outwards could be successful for women with grade one inversion. If that fails, women with more serious inversion might want to consider using a Niplette.

Follow these simple steps to see your grade of nipple inversion:

  1. Stand in front of a mirror with a completely bare chest.
  2. Use your thumb and forefinger to hold your areola.
  3. Then gently press inward into your breast.
  4. Observe how your nipple responds to your pinch to figure out its inversion grade.

You could have different levels of inversion in each nipple or you may only have one inverted nipple. Once you have figured out how serious your nipple inversion is, you can consider the different options available to treat it.

Niplette FAQs – Frequently asked questions about Niplette and Inverted Nipples

Does a niplette work permanently?

  • Some people get permanent results with the niplette, and others don’t.
  • It depends on the severity, your skin laxity, and your anatomy.

How long should you wear a niplette?

  • You should keep wearing a niplette until your nipples start sticking out on their own.
  • The Niplette is not designed to be worn for more than 3 months. So if you don’t get results after 3 months, you might want to consider other options, like inverted nipple surgery.

Can I breastfeed after having surgery to correct inverted nipples?

  • This depends on the type of surgery you get.
  • There is one surgery type that preserves the milk ducts, and another that does not.
  • If you’re planning to breastfeed in the future, you should discuss this with your surgeon before getting surgery.

Can I make my areolas smaller without surgery?

How do you fix Grade 3 Inverted nipples?

Can you still breastfeed if you have inverted nipples?

  • It depends on the grade of the inverted nipple.
  • Women with grades 1 and 2 can usually breastfeed with little to no trouble.
  • Women with grade 3 find it almost impossible. The nipples themselves are indeed connected to your milk ducts, but cannot be suckled on by your baby if they’re inverted or flat.

Can you correct inverted nipples without surgery?

  • It depends on how serious your nipple inversion is. Nipples with less inversion (Grades 1 and 2) may be corrected by suction devices such as the Niplette.
  • More inversion (Grade 3) can usually only be treated with nipple correction surgery.

What causes flat nipples?

  • Being born with tight connective tissue or short milk ducts can give your nipples their pulled-back appearance.
  • Less commonly, breast surgery, breastfeeding, and breast cancer can be a cause of flat nipples.

Are inverted nipples less sensitive?

  • The difference between erect nipples and inverted ones is only the shorter connective tissue and milk ducts.
  • Since no sensory nerves are affected, inverted nipples should be able to have the same sensations as protruding nipples.

Coco Ruby Plastic Surgeons recommends you try using the Niplette device before seeking plastic surgery for inverted nipples. For more information about Inverted Nipple Surgery, visit our webpage or contact our friendly staff.

Further reading and medical sources:

Specialist Plastic Surgeons and ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) Surgeon

With a wealth of experience and training, our Specialist Plastic and ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) Surgeons are dedicated to best-practice patient care and education, customising Surgery for each and every patient to best meet their needs and desired surgical outcomes.

Dr Craig Rubinstein
Dr Broughton Snell
Dr Stephen Kleid
Dr Gary Kode

Specialist Plastic Surgeon MED0001124843

Dr Craig Rubinstein

Dr Craig Rubinstein is a Specialist Plastic Surgeon based in Hawthorn East, Melbourne. With over 20 years of surgical experience especially in all areas of Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery, but particularly in breast surgery. These include Breast Augmentation and Breast Reduction as well as Breast Surgery Revision.

Furthermore, he believes that surgical customisation, precision planning and technical expertise help him to provide optimal surgical outcomes for his patients.

Specialist Plastic Surgeon MED0001190266

Dr Broughton Snell

Dr Broughton Snell is a Specialist Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon based in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. His training in Plastic Surgery took place in Australia and the United States of America (USA).

Dr Snell is a fully qualified specialist plastic surgeon having completed his Fellowship with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in plastic and reconstructive surgery.

ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) Surgeon MED0001052799

Dr Stephen Kleid

Dr Stephen Kleid is an experienced Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Surgeon (Otolaryngologist) based in Melbourne with a passion for Septo-rhinoplasty, Septoplasty, as well as, a strong interest in Rhinoplasty Revision.

Dr Kleid trained at Melbourne University, then completed surgical training at various hospitals including Royal Melbourne, Royal Children’s, The Eye and Ear and St Vincents. He worked as a surgeon at the University of Florida Medical school for further experience.

Specialist Plastic Surgeon MED0001405964

Dr Gary Kode

Dr Gary Kode is a Specialist Plastic Surgeon, with experience in Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery, as well as non-surgical treatments.

Dr Kode is a member of several organisations, including the Australian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS), The International Confederation for Plastic and Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, and he holds a Fellowship with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.

What to do next?

Our Patient Liaison Team can assist with any questions you may have when considering a procedure. You can send in an enquiry form below or call our Melbourne Clinic between 9 am – 5 pm Monday - Friday.

Disclaimer: Results depend on individual patient circumstances and can vary significantly. Results may also be impacted by a variety of factors including your lifestyle, weight, nutritional intake and overall health. Consult your Specialist Plastic Surgeon for details. This information is general in nature and is not intended to be medical advice nor does it constitute a doctor-patient relationship. Surgery risks and complications will be covered in detail during a consultation with your Surgeon.

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