Inverted nipple: Cosmetic problem or medical concern?

content provided by

Inverted nipple: Cosmetic problem or medical concern?


What causes an inverted nipple? Should I be concerned?



If you have always had an inverted nipple, it is probably not a medical concern. However, a newly inverted nipple can be a sign of a serious underlying condition, such as breast cancer, and should be evaluated by a doctor. Other causes of an inverted nipple include:

  • Prior breast surgery involving the nipple or the areola, the dark skin around the nipple
  • History of an infection of the ducts beneath the areola (periductal mastitis)
  • Widening (dilation) or inflammation of the milk ducts beneath the nipple (mammary duct ectasia)

If an inverted nipple is a cosmetic concern, outpatient surgery to correct the inverted nipple may be possible. However, it's important to note that complications, such as altered nipple sensation and the inability to breast-feed, are possible.

Inverted nipple

Illustration of inverted nipple

A nipple that has always been turned inward (inverted) usually isn't a medical concern. But a nipple that has recently turned inward should be checked by a doctor.

Last Updated: 10/09/2006
© 1998-2016 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. "Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," "," "Mayo Clinic Health Information," "Reliable information for a healthier life" and the triple-shield Mayo logo are trademarks of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.

Terms and conditions of use


Bookmark and Share   E-Mail Page   Printer Friendly Version