Female breasts come in many shapes and sizes. In addition to the more frequent changes such as excessively large or small breasts, as well as sagging breasts, there are many other deviations. They include breast abnormalities, shape variations or breast deformities. These breast abnormalities are usually congenital and caused by changes in the embryonal period that can also affect the chest wall.
One of the most well-known abnormalities in women is tuberous breasts. This is a condition that causes a tube-shaped (=tuberous) change where the narrow base of the tuberous breast, almost like a tube, is attached to the chest wall. The extent of the abnormality can vary and is divided into four classifications. In addition to underdevelopment of the lower part, the so-called lower quadrant, tuberous breasts can also cause large areolas and the breasts can hang down in a tube shape (=ptose) due to lack of skin.
Treatment depends on the individual appearance and extent and frequently includes breast augmentation by inserting implants. Part of the treatment can also involve improving or correcting the shape of tuberous breasts by surgically altering the gland tissue as well as reducing the size of the nipples. Possible risks of the surgery are generally the same as with other breast implant and breast lift surgeries. Even though tuberous breasts do not pose a health risk to young women, plastic and aesthetic surgery can help to create more attractive breasts.
Another breast disorder is Poland syndrome. This is when affected individuals are born with missing or underdeveloped chest muscles on one side with the entire or parts of the large chest muscle (musculus pectoralis major) missing. Poland syndrome usually occurs on one side, which creates asymmetrical breasts. The extent of the abnormality may vary; in rare cases, the small chest muscle (musculus pectoralis minor) is missing. Usually the breast on the affected side is smaller, or the breast is completely missing; the nipple is located higher and looks smaller and darker.
The contour at the side of the breast that forms the boundary to the arm, the so-called anterior axillary fold, is empty. This lack of volume in the front of the armpit is because the large chest muscle is missing and is one of the aspects of corrective plastic surgery. Poland syndrome is frequently treated by inserting a breast implant on the affected side with the aim of enlarging the breast. In addition, it is sometimes recommended to reduce the size or lift the other breast. Modern procedures of lipofilling, during which the body’s own fatty tissue is injected into the breast or at the side, can help improve the surface contour, particularly in the area towards the underarm. Alternatively, there is the more complicated option of improving the sunken contour of the anterior axilla by transpositioning the back muscle. In this case, tissue from the patient’s body is transplanted. Custom-made implants can also be used in order to balance out the difference in volume.
Amazon syndrome is when the mammary gland is missing on one side, yet, unlike with Poland syndrome, the chest muscle is present. One treatment option is a breast augmentation by inserting an implant, or lipofilling.
Changes to the chest wall can also take on many different forms. Corrective surgery is generally complicated and involves the surgical adjustment of the chest wall in a special department. However, changes to the chest wall may be much less noticeable if the breast above is surgically corrected, so the patient will still be satisfied with the result without performing complex procedures on the chest wall.
Your plastic surgeon would be happy to advise you during a personal consultation and inform you about the options and costs of surgical treatment after examining the condition. If the patient would like the costs for a procedure (e.g. a tuberous breast operation) to be covered by their health insurance provider, an application must be submitted to the health insurance company in most cases. The health insurance company decides whether or not to cover the costs following an examination by a medical professional working on its behalf.