What Are Inverted Nipples?

An inverted nipple is a nipple whose structure has a flat or inward shape as opposed to projecting outward from the surface. Inverted nipples are caused by short lactiferous ducts (milk ducts), which result in the nipple tightening inward and causing a flat appearance or becoming pulled inward altogether.

The result is a flat or “shy” nipple that does not protrude outward or causes an actual depression in the areola. Inverted nipples are quite common and can affect one or both nipples, with some inverted nipples able to protrude as a result of stimulation or pulling, and others permanently inverted in the breast mound. Inverted nipples are a benign condition that may be present since birth or develop as a result of trauma, infection, scarring or pregnancy.

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While harmless to the body, inverted nipples may prevent successful breastfeeding as a result of their shape, which may not offer a proper latching within the baby’s mouth. In rare cases, a condition known as gynecomastia (swelling of breast tissue in males) can cause inverted nipples in men. Inverted nipple correction in Chicago at The Michael Horn Center for Cosmetic Surgery is designed to provide high-quality cosmetic results and naturally-outward nipples in both men and women.

Happy patient after inverted nipple correction

Why Inverted Nipple Correction?

Inverted nipple correction surgery, also called inverted nipple repair, is a safe and effective surgical procedure designed to address the cosmetic and physical concerns associated with inverted nipples.


While quite common, inverted nipples may cause some people to feel self-conscious about their appearance and affect their self-confidence, particularly during intimacy. Because of their shape, inverted nipples may appear unnatural to you and contrast with your desires for a shapely breast contour and form.

Inverted nipples may also be a cause for concern in the case of breastfeeding because of their inward shape, which can make it difficult for the baby’s mouth to latch on and receive feeding. Men with gynecomastia (swelling of breast tissue in males) are also ideal candidates for inverted nipple correction and may benefit from cosmetic modifications that result in outward-projecting and naturally-shaped nipples.

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Which Conditions Can be Treated with Inverted Nipple Correction in Chicago?


Inverted nipples may be a lifelong condition or arise as a result of trauma, pregnancy, disease or other factors which affect the breast tissue and its structures. This procedure is designed to address:

  • Flat, deep-set or “shy” looking nipples
  • Fully inverted nipples
  • Inverted nipples in men as a result of gynecomastia

What Are the Benefits of Inverted Nipple Correction?

Inverted nipple correction surgery is an opportunity to correct flat or inverted nipples present since birth or as a result of trauma, infection, pregnancy or other conditions.


Inverted nipple correction can also be performed in conjunction with other breast enhancement procedures such as breast implants, breast lift and breast reduction for an inclusive approach to your cosmetic goals. Benefits of inverted nipple correction include:

  • Correction of flat nipples
  • Correction of inverted nipples
  • Outward nipple protrusion
  • More natural and contoured nipple projection and shape
  • Improved confidence in nipple appearance
  • Treatment of inverted nipples as a result of gynecomastia
  • Can be performed in combination with restorative and breast enhancement procedures
Chicago inverted nipple correction patient wearing hat

What is the Difference between Inverted Nipple Correction and Nipple Reconstruction?

As the name of the procedure implies, inverted nipple correction is specifically designed to correct flat or inverted nipples and result in the outward projection of existing nipples for cosmetic and functional purposes. Nipple reconstruction is an entirely different procedure that involves the recreation of nipple tissue using skin from other locations, often performed in conjunction with breast reconstruction.

Can I Breastfeed After Inverted Nipple Correction?

Inverted nipple correction surgery involves modifying the milk ducts and their surrounding fibers which are tethering the nipple in place and pulling it inward.


In the past, this type of procedure relied on severing the milk ducts completely, which would release the nipples outward but also eliminate a woman’s ability to breastfeed. However, recent advances in breast surgery techniques allow for modifications to the surrounding fibrous bands, which help preserve milk duct functionality while achieving forward nipple projection. The type of techniques involved in your correction surgery will depend on the severity of the nipple inversion, with severe cases typically requiring cutting the milk ducts and thus eliminating the ability to breastfeed.

The ability to breastfeed post-treatment also varies from patient to patient, so it is important to discuss any pregnancy or nursing plans with Dr. Horn before deciding to proceed. While some women may be able to perform breastfeeding after inverted nipple correction, others may no longer have the ability. For this reason, Dr. Horn does not recommend correction treatment prior to pregnancy or nursing except in cases of severely inverted nipples, which may prevent breastfeeding anyhow. Please contact us with any questions regarding breastfeeding and inverted nipple correction and to learn if this treatment is right for you.

How Do I Prepare for Inverted Nipple Correction Surgery?

Inverted nipple surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that requires little to no preparation.


You will be advised to avoid smoking for several weeks in advance of surgery to ensure proper circulation and optimal healing. Patients opting for general anesthesia may be asked to perform a medical evaluation check for their safety and to avoid risk of complication.

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How Does Inverted Nipple Correction Surgery Work?


At Lakeshore Plastic Surgery in Chicago inverted nipple correction involves a minimally invasive surgical procedure that releases the tension pulling the nipples inward and creates an outward projection with an aesthetically pleasing nipple shape and profile. This procedure is performed in-clinic under local anesthesia and can be completed in as little as one hour, after which you can drive yourself home. Inverted nipple correction involves the following steps:

1. Assessment of Inverted Nipple Severity and Cause

Dr. Horn will make an expert evaluation of your inverted nipples and determine their cause, the techniques necessary for optimal correction, and if treatment is right for you.

2. Local Anesthesia or General Anesthesia

Inverted nipple correction is a minimally invasive procedure that can be performed with a local numbing anesthetic that ensures patient comfort during treatment, after which patients will be allowed to drive themselves home. Some patients may prefer to be under general anesthesia, which induces sleep and will require a more thorough medical history evaluation, as well as a ride home from a personal contact.

3. Nipple Incision and Modification

A tiny incision is made along the edge of the nipple and modifications are made to the milk ducts or their surrounding fibers in accordance with your treatment plan, which releases the inverted nipples and allows them to project outward. A temporary spacer may be inserted to give support to the nipple tissue as it heals in place and retains its new shape and profile.

4. Closing the Incision

The incision is sealed with a single absorbable stitch that promotes healing and dissolves on its own after several days, typically resulting in a tiny imperceptible scar.

Does Inverted Nipple Surgery Have Risks?

While every surgery involves a small degree of risk to the patient, inverted nipple correction surgery is considered very safe and any associated risks and complications extremely rare. Prior to the procedure, patients will be required to sign a consent form stating that they understand and accept any associated risks of surgery, which will be fully explained and may include:

  • Bleeding
  • General anesthesia complications
  • Infection
  • Temporary or permanent loss of nipple sensation
  • Inability to breastfeed
Torso of woman after inverted nipple correction in Chicago

What Should I Expect During Inverted Nipple Correction Recovery?

Inverted nipple correction surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that involves very little recovery or downtime. Patients who receive surgery under local anesthesia will be able to drive themselves home immediately following treatment.

Patients who have elected for general anesthesia will be required to arrange transportation from our clinic with a personal contact (for your safety, there will be no Uber, public or commercial transportation services allowed). Slight tenderness, swelling or discomfort around the nipples is common after treatment and typically begins to subside after 1-2 days.

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Prescription pain medication will be made available for increased comfort during the brief recovery process. Patients may bathe gently and return to work and daily activities as early as the next day. An antibiotic ointment will be provided to prevent infection at incision sites, which should be applied regularly after gently washing with soap and water or as prescribed. Slight discharge from the incision site is normal, which can be covered with a light pad worn inside the bra during initial recovery. You will be advised to avoid strenuous exercise and physical activity for up to 2 weeks following surgery.

Chicago inverted nipple correction patient

When Will I See the Results of Inverted Nipple Correction?

Our Chicago Inverted Nipple Correction patients can expect to experience immediate results following treatment in the form of more outward, shapely and natural looking nipples.


Any visible swelling or bruising should begin to subside in the days after treatment and dissipate entirely within one week, revealing protruding and contoured nipples in line with your cosmetic goals. Due to the tiny nature of the incisions, any scarring will be minimally visible and expected to fade to imperceptibility over time.

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How Long Do the Results of Inverted Nipple Correction Surgery Last?


Inverted nipple correction is designed to produce long-term results that may very well last a lifetime. However, this does not account for factors such as weight gain, pregnancy, illness or certain breast tissue conditions, which may affect breast skin and tissue shape and appearance over time.

Schedule a Consultation

If you live in or near Chicago and have questions about correction of inverted nipple surgery, click here to request a consultation online at our downtown Chicago plastic surgery office. Alternatively, you can Call our practice at (312) 202-9000 and one of our helpful staff members will schedule your appointment.