Breasts and nipples come in all shapes and sizes. Most women have breasts where their left is slightly different to their right. However, when those differences are significant enough to be viewed as a deformity it can cause significant problems and issues. Dr John Newton, Plastic Surgeon based in Warners Bay, NSW says breast and nipple deformity is more common that we might think, but with modern day techniques there is several options for treatment. We chatted to him about what those options are.
What is classified as a breast or nipple deformity?
There are several conditions that might classify a patient as having a breast or nipple deformity including:
- Tuberous breasts – identified with enlarged, puffy areola, wider spacing than usual between the two breasts, reduced breast tissue, a more sagging/droopy appearance, higher than normal breast fold and narrow base at the chest wall.
- Asymmetrical breasts – as mentioned above almost all breasts are uneven in some small way, but when these differences are more pronounced it can cause issues.
- Oversized nipples/areola – while this is not really a “deformity” as such, some women have nipples that take up more than their fair share of the breast area.
- Inverted nipples
- Undersized or oversized breasts – many of us wish we were a little bigger, or a little smaller, but some women have breast growth issues worse than others. Example, some women may not grow breasts at all due to an issue with their growth hormones or other congenital defects, and some girls can have DDD’s by the time they turn 10.
Dr Newton adds, “There are a variety of deformities related to breasts that may need to be corrected. These may be: the shape of the breasts themselves, asymmetry of the breasts, inverted or overly large nipples, previous surgeries, breast cancer, or the result or trauma.”
What are the issues caused by having breast or nipple deformity?
Regardless of which breast or nipple deformity a patient might suffer from, they are likely to have similar issues including but not limited to:
- Social anxiety or in extreme cases social recluse
- Self esteem issues including embarrassment, shyness, anxiety, etc.
- Relationship phobia/issues
- Inability to find bras/clothes to fit properly
- Back/neck pain (uneven or oversized breasts cause many physical issues)
- Inability to breastfeed – tuberous breasts often cause breastfeeding issues.
What are the solutions for breast or nipple deformity?
Dr Newton says there are many techniques available for the various breast and nipple deformity issues. “Pre-operative assessment may include 3-D imaging of your breasts using the Vectra Program. The procedure required to correct deformity of the breasts will obviously depend on what the deformity is. It may include any of the many techniques available plastic surgery including: breast reduction, breast lift, breast augmentation, fat grafting or other tissue grafting and/or liposuction. One or more procedures may be necessary and both breasts may require operation. There are also specialised surgeries specific to the issues. I’ll briefly discuss a few.”
“Inverted nipples are corrected by a relatively minor but complex procedure whereby the ducts (connections between the nipple and the underlying breast tissue) are lengthened allowing the nipple to come out and the nipple is then fixed in place.”
“Some people may feel as though their nipples are too large and may wish to reduce the size of the areola. This procedure is not only for women, but males too also might feel lack of self esteem and embarrassment due to overly large nipples. This is a simple procedure of reduction of the excess nipple tissue. Since it is not the actual breast tissue that is being reduced, just the skin, this procedure is relatively quick.”
Revision Breast Surgery
“Many of the women I see for breast surgery have had previous breast surgery; whether it be for reconstruction or for cosmetic purposes. Many breast surgeries can require reoperation at times. This may be to correct any number of a variety of problems, whether they happen at the time of operation or as time goes by.”
“Breast asymmetry can be a very distressing and compromising problem. It can be the result of one breast developing more than the other, the result of chest wall irregularity or the result of prior surgery. The procedures used to correct asymmetry vary and may include breast enlargement, breast reduction, liposuction, breast lift, fat injection and chest wall realignment. These procedures may need to be done at separate operations, depending on the individual circumstance.”
Dr Newton says that no matter what a patient’s breast or nipple deformity is, there is usually something that can be done to make it more aesthetically pleasing. Modern techniques and tools such as the Vectra Imaging machine found in many surgeons’ offices around the country are able to help you visualise what might be possible in the hands of a fully qualified and experienced plastic surgeon.
If you’d like more information check out the blogs below, or if you’d like to arrange a consultation or contact Dr John Newton click here.