Inverted nipples are a common problem and a challenging clinical condition to repair. Multiple methods have been reported to correct inverted nipples, most of which will destroy breastfeeding function.
Patients and Methods
We have designed a simple nipple retractor to correct inverted nipples. A total of 53 patients with 95 inverted nipples underwent an operation in which the nipples were retracted into a normal position and fixated with the nipple retractor and wires under local anesthesia. Nipple retractors were to be worn for 6 months. Postoperatively, the patients were invited to follow-up on the 1st day, the 7th day, after 1 month, 3 months and 6 months, and yearly thereafter. Wire adjustments were performed as needed. Mean follow-up was 11.9 months (range 8–18 months).
Improvement occurred in all patients and was sustained in all cases throughout the follow-up period. The total complication rate was 5.26% (5/95). The main complications included depigmentation (2.11%, 2/95), areolar ulcer (2.11%, 2/95), and wire dislocation (1.05%, 1/95).
The nipple retractor is a simple tool with which severely inverted nipples can be successfully corrected with a low complication rate. Close follow-up and careful postoperative care are important to avoid complications.