What are tuberous breasts?

Charlotte breast augmentation

The patients who come to us for breast augmentation would like to have breasts that are a larger size than their current ones. For certain women, there is a medical condition causing their breasts to be extremely small. This condition is known as tuberous breasts. While it was previously estimated to affect only 1 to 5% of breast augmentation patients, newer studies suggest that up to 50% of breast augmentation patients have some degree of this condition.

Some women come to us already having been diagnosed with tuberous breasts by another medical professional, but most have never heard of this condition until they come for their consultation with Dr. Miles. What are tuberous breasts? How can you know whether you have them? Does this condition make a difference in your plastic surgery treatment?

Tuberous breasts

For patients with tuberous breasts, the breasts fail to develop normally during puberty. Although there is still a lot that’s unknown about the reason that certain women have this condition, it seems to result from excessive deposits of collagen in the connective tissue of the breasts. This restricts their development, causing them to assume an abnormal shape and size. In general, the breasts will be quite small. The areolas (the darker areas around the nipples) are generally enlarged and often puffy. The lower part of the breast is the most affected, leading to the tube-like shape of the breast, with a narrow breast base at the chest wall and wide spacing between the breasts.

The condition goes by many names, including tubular breasts, constricted breasts, lower pole hypoplasia, or hypoplastic breasts. In general, it’s mainly a cosmetic issue. Some women with tuberous breasts (though not all) have issues with low milk supply while breastfeeding, but the condition doesn’t cause any other functional problems.

How can this affect breast augmentation?

Beyond psychological counseling to help a patient simply accept her breasts as they are, the only treatment currently available for those with tuberous breasts is breast augmentation with implants. This can help to restore the breasts to a more normal appearance.

However, a breast augmentation in a woman with tuberous breasts does require the use of particular surgical techniques in order to achieve the best results. Although the specifics depend on the patient, the surgeon will generally need to release excessively tight connective tissue around the bottom of the breast in order to position the implant in a desirable location.

In many cases of tuberous breasts, only one surgery is necessary to place implants. For certain patients with extremely small breasts, however, the existing tissue may simply be insufficient to stretch in order to accommodate an implant. These patients can have a tissue expander placed to gradually create the necessary space. This is placed through a small incision in the skin beneath the breast, and gradually inflated with sterile saline. Once the necessary space has been created, then the expander is removed and the implants are placed.

Charlotte breast augmentation

If you think that you might have tuberous breasts, only an evaluation by a doctor can determine whether you have this condition. Many general physicians are not aware of tuberous breasts, because this condition is primarily a cosmetic issue rather than a functional problem. This means you may get a more accurate diagnosis by visiting a plastic surgeon, who has specialized knowledge about this condition.

Dr. MilesIf you’re in the greater Charlotte or Lake Norman area, and you believe you might have tuberous breasts, we invite you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Erik Miles. An examination will allow him to determine whether you have the condition, and what would be involved in surgery to correct it (so you can decide if this is an option you would like to consider). To schedule your personal consultation, please contact our office.

Dr. Erik J. Miles
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