Breast or chest deformity is a condition that can put enormous psychological strain on both female and male sufferers from an early age, and possessing tuberous breasts is a congenital deformity the exact cause of which is unknown but thought to affect up to 5% of breast augmentation patients. However help is at hand in the form of various surgical procedures capable of correcting this condition and improving the lives and self-esteem of countless people.
Tuberous breasts, sometimes also known as tubular breasts or medically as hypoplastic breasts, is a congenital abnormality that can affect either one or both breasts in women and in men. According to Dr Allen Rezai, an expert breast surgeon and lead consultant Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon at Elite Plastic & Cosmetic Surgery Group in Dubai Healthcare City, “tuberous breast is one of the most common congenital breast shape deformities and can cause abnormalities of breast volume, volume distribution, breast shape and the size and shape of the nipple-areola complex. Tuberous breasts develop during puberty if the skin does not stretch adequately, resulting in abnormal development of the breast tissue.”
Tuberous breast deformity was first described in the medical literature in 1976, following which a method of classification was developed by Grolleau comprising three grades depending upon which region of the breast is affected: Grade I, mainly the infero-medial quadrant; Grade II, the two inferior quadrants; and Grade III, affecting the whole breast.
Dr Rezai explains that the following indications are characteristic of tuberous breast deformity: “A breast or breasts that are narrow and cylindrical in shape; breasts with an abnormally constricted base and possessing little or no tissue; an enlarged protruding and puffy nipple-areola complex; breasts separated widely apart producing an unnaturally wide cleavage; and drooping breasts that appear long and constricted due to the crease where the breast joins the chest wall being abnormally high.”
“The condition can also affect the ability of women to breastfeed, as in some cases the breasts, including the milk glands, will not have developed sufficiently to produce milk. However, the condition does not affect other aspects of fertility and pregnancy.”
To correct tuberous breasts, the degree of severity of the condition influences the type of treatment employed, but in general the treatment will widen the constricted base of the breast to a normal size; lower the infra-mammary fold; increase the skin envelope; increase the size of the breast; reduce the size of the nipple-areola complex; and restore breast symmetry.
According to Dr Rezai, the surgical techniques employed in correcting tuberous breasts are those of reconstructive surgery and will depend upon both their suitability in individual cases and also the surgeon’s preferences. “Either an implant or the patient’s own tissue may be used to provide the volume needed. While the use of breast implants is the more common approach, both perforator flaps comprising skin, fatty tissue and small blood vessels – typically the Abdominal flap known as DIEP flap and the upper back flap known as TAP flap- and fat transfer methods can be used. By using tissue belonging to the patient herself, many complications that can arise due to using breast implants can be avoided. However these procedures are longer in duration andhave a longer recovery time, with additional scars at the donor site,” says Dr Rezai.
So thanks to the techniques of modern reconstructive breast surgery, many people, men and women, who might have gone through life suffering the psychological traumas of inadequacy and lack of confidence due to this condition, are now able to go about their daily routines in a new happier way and live life to the full.
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