Sensation-Sparing Correction of Inverted Nipples Using the ‘Drawbridge’ Flap Approach
An inverted nipple can cause significant functional and psychologic disturbance to women. The holy grail of any surgical technique to correct this is to restore adequate nipple projection and at the same time, try to preserve lactation and nipple sensation. We describe our experience using an inferior dermal nipple-areolar interposition flap to correct the inverted nipple alongside with selective release of the lactiferous ducts of the nipple.
Materials and Methods
We have employed this technique successfully in 97 cases of inverted nipples in 60 patients with follow-up periods of up to 2 years. Twenty-three of them had unilateral inversion, and 37 of them had bilateral nipple inversion.
The appearance of the nipple was good to excellent. Seventy to 80% of the initial postoperative nipple projection at the end of 1 year was maintained. Postoperative complications included stitch abscess in one patient (n = 1) and an epidermal cyst in another (n = 1). Nipple sensation was preserved in 100% of cases. There was no recurrence of inversion in any of the nipples.
By identifying the root cause of inverted nipples in each individual case, and selectively targeting them, we minimize surgical morbidity with a simple technique that avoids any form of traction or compression of the nipple and minimizes the risk of altered nipple sensation.
Level of Evidence IV
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KeywordsInverted nipple correction Dermal nipple areola flap Drawbridge flap approach Nipple flap Nipple reconstruction Dermal flap
The authors acknowledge the work of Mrs. E M W Mithoff, Consultant Plastic Surgeon, Canniesburn Unit, Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Glasgow, UK. None of the authors have a financial interest in any of the products, devices or drugs mentioned in this manuscript.
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