Tuberous Breasts: Diagnosis & Treatment

As you know, breast size and shape vary from woman to woman. Some breasts sit higher on the chest wall, some sit naturally lower; some are firmer, some are softer; some are larger and some are smaller. However, some women have what is called constricted or tuberous breasts. These breasts look much different from the “usual” breast. In a constricted, or tubular, breast the breast tissue has been “squeezed” into the very tip. There is usually little or no breast tissue on the chest wall (called the upper pole), resulting in a flat-chested appearance with all or most of the breast fullness located in the tip of the breast. For women with tuberous breasts, breast augmentation can create the fullness that is lacking.

The Causes of Constricted or Tubular Breasts

Heredity, weight changes, and hormonal signals affect breast size, shape, and position. It’s fairly normal for a woman’s breasts to be slightly asymmetric, i.e., not exactly the same size or shape. Unfortunately, women with tuberous breasts have tissue restriction, in which one or both of the breasts developed incorrectly because the surrounding tissues and chest skin restricted the breasts, which forced the breast tissue into the nipple complex. The result is a narrow breast with little or no fullness in the upper pole (the upper part of the breast). The breast tissue is, literally, compressed at the bottom of the breast. Not only does this make a woman self-conscious, but it makes it difficult to find bras that fit correctly and offer appropriate support. Many teens have come to me for breast implants to correct their tuberous breasts rather than to gain a larger bust.

Tuberous breasts are not a type of breast shape but, rather, an irregularity in the development of the breast(s). A skilled surgeon, like myself, can correct both the herniation and create fullness in the upper portion of the breast.

How to Correct a Tuberous or Constricted Breast

Under general anesthesia in my accredited onsite operating suite, I first make an incision in order to lower what’s called the inframammary fold (the area under the breast where the breast joins the chest wall, ie, the spot where a bra underwire would sit). After this, I may adjust the size and/or position of the areola/nipple complex, if needed, and release the breast tissue from its position at the tip of the breast. Sometimes an implant is necessary to create a normal-appearing breast because tuberous breasts are usually quite narrow and there is often inadequate tissue to get an excellent breast shape without an implant. If the other breast is also constricted, the procedure is repeated on that side. Depending on the patient’s other breast, only one implant may be needed to give adequate correction and create a symmetric appearance.

Recovery from tuberous breast surgery is similar to that of breast augmentation here in my Boca Raton practice, the details of which you can read via the link above.

Does Insurance Cover Tubular Breast Repair?

Depending upon your insurance, all or part of a tuberous breast reconstruction might be covered by insurance. I will ask you at your consultation about your health insurance coverage so that we can submit the paperwork and photos to request authorization for insurance coverage.

If you, or someone you love, has tuberous breasts, there is a way to give you the normal-appearing breasts that you desire simply by calling my office at 561-417-0171 or completing this online consultation form. My tuberous breast patients are delighted with their final results and consider the procedure well worth the temporary discomfort.

Dr. Jonathan Ross Berman is a Boca Raton plastic surgeon who has been certified by both the American Board of Plastic Surgery and the American Board of Otolaryngology / Head and Neck Surgery with over 30 years of service experience specializing in Breast Augmentation, Rhinoplasty, Face Lift, Liposuction, and many other types of plastic surgery in Boca Raton, FL.

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