Polythelia (Third Nipple): Types, Causes, and Removal

Princess A.
4 Min Read
Third Nipple

Polythelia is a condition of having an additional nipple. It is also known as a supernumerary nipple. Oftentimes, it is mistaken as a mole. The additional Polythelia Nipple always appears along the two vertical milk lines, (This refers to the area on the front of your body, which starts in your armpit and goes down through and past your nipples to your genital area).

But not all extra nipples may appear here. They can appear almost anywhere on your body, even on your hands or feet. These are known as ectopic supernumerary nipples.

Polythelia is more common in men than in women. It is possible to have more than one additional nipple. Most people usually confuse polythelia with polymastia, but they are quite different.

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Table of Contents


Is Polythelia the Same as Polymastia?

Polythelia refers to the presence of an additional nipple only while polymastia is the presence of additional mammary glands(breast); and not just an additional nipple.

Is Third Nipple Dangerous?

The third nipple is a condition and a form of atavism which is most prevalent in male humans and often goes untreated as it is mostly harmless.

In recent years, several affected ladies have had cosmetic surgery operations to get rid of the extra breasts (polymastia), for strictly aesthetic reasons.

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Therefore, polythelia is just conditioned and has no dangerous effect on anyone.

Read: Why Are My Nipples Always Hard? 12 Possible Reasons


What are the types of Polythelia?

Depending on the size, shape, and tissue makeup; polythelia is categorized into:

Why Does Third Nipple Occur?

polythelia develops while a human embryo is developing in the womb.

The two milk lines of the baby in the womb; made up of ridged ectoderm tissue, thicken during the fourth week of pregnancy.

In a normal sense, the milk line tissue stays thick and forms your nipples while the rest of the thickened skin softens up again.

Read: White Spots on the Skin: Causes & Treatment

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But in most cases, parts of the milk line ridges don’t become regular ectoderm tissue again.

When this occurs, supernumerary nipples can appear where the milk tissue stayed thick, strong, and ridged after birth and development into adulthood.

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Can Polythelia (third nipple) be Removed?

If you have polythelia, there is nothing to worry about. Polythelia denotes no form of a chronic condition.

But if you want to remove it due to cosmetic reasons; quick, noninvasive outpatient surgery can be performed to remove extra nipples with minimal pain and recovery time.

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