Summary: Tuberous breasts occur in roughly five percent of women, and are caused by a congenital condition that prevents the breasts from forming properly during puberty. As a result of the condition, women with tuberous breasts can suffer from psychological and emotional problems, difficulty becoming intimately involved with others and low self esteem.
Tuberous breasts are usually characterized by their small size in combination with a higher than average inframammary fold. Additionally, tuberous breasts can experience a higher degree of sagging than is commonly expected in small breasts, as well as a large or puffy areola caused by constricted tissue causing the breasts to bulge through the center rather than expand laterally.
Tuberous breasts can be effectively corrected with plastic surgery. However, the procedure requires a skilled breast surgeon who has extensive experience with tuberous breasts.
Surgical Treatment for Tuberous Breasts
Many women with tuberous breasts elect to undergo breast augmentation surgery with or without mastopexy, or a breast lift. However, it’s important to take the necessary steps prior to surgery to ensure an optimal experience. At times, specific tests, such as an MRI, mammography or ultrasound may be required in addition to general chest and breast measurements. Additionally, patients can choose their implant size and type prior to surgery with the help of their surgeon.
Correcting Tuberous Breasts with Implants
In nearly all cases of correcting tuberous breasts, implants are required in order to create a natural looking breast mound. The exact implant type depends upon the patient’s cosmetic goals. However, most commonly, a round, high profile implant is used in correcting tuberous breasts. This is because the greater degree of projection in high profile implants is often required to create larger and rounder breasts, while the smaller implant base can fit more easily within the constricted breasts than the wider base of low profile implants.
By releasing the constricted tissue bands before inserting the implants, the breasts can expand to a wider and more natural size and shape. During the procedure, the surgeon will also lower the inframammary fold. Often, a periareolar incision works best when correcting tuberous breasts with implants, as the implant can be placed more accurately within the newly created implant pocket and the areola can be easily resized if needed.
When to Include a Breast Lift
For a few women with tuberous breasts, breast augmentation with implants may be the only necessary procedure to create an ideal breast appearance. But for most, a breast lift in combination with implants may be necessary.
A mastopexy, or breast lift, can help ensure that the breasts adopt a lifted and youthful position with a natural, rounded shape. In addition to lifting any sagging breast tissue, a breast lift also reshapes existing breast tissue, often resulting in improved firmness and texture of the breasts. In the case of tuberous breasts, reshaping breast tissue can be necessary to properly reallocate breast tissue that was previously focused in the center of the breast.
For these reasons, the majority of patients with tuberous breasts undergo a combined breast lift and augmentation surgery to create their ideal results. However, the needs of individual patients can differ and women are encouraged to consult with their surgeon about their options. After successful correction of tuberous breasts, patients often experience dramatic improvements in self-confidence, body image and general quality of life.