Surgery for inverted nipples

Will I be able to breastfeed if I have had an operation for inverted nipples?

Surgery to correct inverted nipples may allow babies to latch and breastfeed. However it can severely damage milk ducts, preventing milk from leaving the breast and leaving mothers unable to produce any milk for their babies. Mothers who have had this surgery should ask their surgeon if any attempt was made to spare the milk ducts. If the surgery fails to bring out the nipple or if there is new scarring under the nipple, the baby may continue to have latching problems. 

A) Describing surgery to correct inverted nipples

There are various ways to correct inverted nipples, including surgery. Some types of surgery try to spare the milk ducts, which carry milk from the milk tissue in the breast to the openings in the nipple, while others do not (Feng 2018). Both surgical approaches appear to produce nipples of similar appearance (Hernandes Yenty 2016).

B) The effect of surgery for inverted nipples on breastfeeding

Surgery to correct inverted nipples can have a major effect on breastfeeding, since it can damage the milk ducts where they enter the nipple. If the ducts are damaged, milk is unable to leave the breast, causing engorgement during the first week after birth and leaving the mother unable to produce milk. If the surgery fails to bring out the nipple or if there is scarring under the nipple, the baby may have latching problems.

Our clinic has cared for several mothers who have had surgery for inverted nipples. Presumably they all had surgery that did not spare the ducts, as each mother was only able to express drops of milk and their babies needed a lot of extra milk after breastfeeding. Mothers may have other problems related to their surgery (Olivas-Menayo 2020).  

References

Feng R, Li W, Yu B, et al. A Modified Inverted Nipple Correction Technique That Preserves Breastfeeding. Aesthet Surg J. 2018 May 11
 
Hernandez Yenty QM, Jurgens WJ, van Zuijlen PP, et al. Treatment of the benign inverted nipple: A systematic review and recommendations for future therapy. Breast. 2016 Oct;29:82-9

Olivas-Menayo J, Berniz C. Inverted Nipple Correction Techniques: An Algorithm Based on Scientific Evidence, Patients' Expectations and Potential Complications. Aesthetic Plast Surg. 2020 Aug 4