Supernumerary nipple

What type of supernumerary nipple do I have?

We aren't able to offer a specific diagnosis or speculate on the exact type of supernumerary nipple you have; we can only provide information that we hope you find useful. We recommend that you speak with your doctor about your questions and perhaps ask for a referral to a dermatologist with knowledge about supernumerary nipples. Histology (the study of tissue under a microscope) may provide a definitive diagnosis, as the tissues present in a supernumerary nipple are identical to those of the normal nipple.

Supernumerary nipples were classified into 8 categories in 1915, and this classification is still used today:

  • Complete supernumerary nipple - Nipple and areola and glandular breast tissue (also called polymastia, or supernumerary breast)
  • Supernumerary nipple - Nipple and glandular tissue (no areola)
  • Supernumerary nipple - Areola and glandular tissue (no nipple)
  • Aberrant glandular tissue only (breast tissue with no nipple or areola)
  • Supernumerary nipple - Nipple and areola and pseudomamma (fat tissue that replaces the glandular tissue)
  • Supernumerary nipple - Nipple only (called polythelia, the most common supernumerary nipple)
  • Supernumerary nipple - Areola only (polythelia areolaris)
  • Patch of hair only (polythelia pilosa) - may be a marker of underlying breast tissue

Although this classification is clear, people with a supernumerary nipple may encounter interchangeable terms or the inaccurate use of terms. This may be due to the range of variability from person to person. The likely reason that more recent descriptions are scarce in the literature is the relatively minor significance of a supernumerary nipple, from a health perspective.

Last updated on 05-01-20

How might a supernumerary nipple be treated?

Most people do not need any treatment for a supernumerary nipple. Removal via surgery or another technique may be considered for cosmetic purposes or if there are symptoms that cause discomfort, such as lactation or tenderness.

A thorough work-up for other malformations typically is not needed in a person with a supernumerary nipple who is otherwise healthy. However, a work-up may be recommended if a person has:

  • a supernumerary nipple accompanied by additional minor malformations
  • a prominent ectopic (abnormally-positioned) supernumerary nipple
  • an established family history of supernumerary nipples

Physical exams and mammography of ectopic breast tissue should occur at the frequency recommended for normal breast tissue in any particular person. Supernumerary nipples can undergo similar diseases to normal breast tissue.

Last updated on 05-01-20

Name: American Academy of Dermatology 1445 New York Ave, NW Suite 800
Washington, DC, 20005, United States
Toll Free: 888-462-DERM (3376) Fax : 847-240-1859 Email: Url:

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The RareGuru disease database is regularly updated using data generously provided by GARD, the United States Genetic and Rare Disease Information Center.

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