Surplus nipples

Surplus nipples can be traced back to an incomplete regression of the milk line in the unborn child in the womb. They are found in two to three percent of newborns and can occur frequently in families. A connection with kidney malformation is controversially discussed. Supernumerary (accessory) nipples usually appear unilaterally, occasionally with a areola and individual hairs. The technical term for this is polythelia. Surplus nipples usually occur in the immediate vicinity of the breast above the pectoral muscle or near the armpit, less frequently on the abdomen. After removal, the tissue is examined for fine tissue in order to obtain certainty about the benign findings.

How are accessory nipples removed?

The procedure is performed under local anesthesia and on an outpatient basis. The tissue is gently removed with a scalpel, whereby you only feel movements on the skin surface. In order to leave an inconspicuous scar, the surrounding soft tissue of the skin is loosened. The wound is then closed with fine threads without any tension and a bandage is applied. The outpatient procedure lasts 15 minutes. Before you leave the practice, appointments for check-ups are arranged and the behavioural measures are discussed with you in detail. You will receive a comprehensive written report and a telephone number where you can reach the surgeon 24 hours a day in an emergency.

Before, after and even during the operation you can watch movies or your favourite series with virtual reality glasses. This is not only entertaining, the distraction also demonstrably leads to less sensitivity to pain.

How can you prepare for the removal of accessory nipples?

  • All your questions about possible complications and alternative treatments should be answered before surgery.
  • On the day of surgery, shower with a disinfectant soap (e.g. HiBiScrub® Plus, Octenisan® Wash Lotion, Prontoderm® Shower Gel).
  • Keep nicotine and alcohol consumption to a minimum.
  • If necessary, stop taking hormone-containing medication (the pill) temporarily.
  • Blood-thinning medication (e.g. ASS, Thomapyrin®) must be discontinued at least ten days before the operation after consultation with your treating physician.
  • Vitamin preparations (A, E) and dietary supplements (omega-3 fatty acids, St. John's wort preparations, etc.) must be discontinued at least four weeks before the operation.

What do you need to keep in mind after the removal of accessory nipples?

  • This is followed by regular checks of your well-being and the results of the operation.
  • Showering is possible immediately before the wound check from the 3rd postoperative day.
  • From the third postoperative week onwards, several daily massages for a few minutes in a circle as well as lengthwise and crosswise to the course of the scar with oily creams (e.g. Bepanthen® ointment or Linola® fat) help to inconspicuous scars.
  • Bending down, lifting heavy loads, swimming, sauna, sexual intercourse and sporting activities should be avoided for two weeks, possibly longer if swelling still exists.

Author's statement

Author: Stéphane Stahl, MD, PhD. There are no financial relationships with the pharmaceutical or medical device industries that could have influenced the above text. Any reproduction, even partial, is permitted for personal use only. All texts used on this website are protected by copyright.


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