Tuberous Breasts – What are they, do you have them? Dr Marcus Pyragius explains…

Tuberous breast deformity (tubular breasts) is a common condition from birth. The abnormality in breast shape becomes apparent during puberty when breast development occurs. Tuberous breasts result in a wide range of deformities from mild to severe. The features may include a constricted (narrowed) breast base with a high crease under the breast. As the breasts grow outward they appear tubular in shape and often develop large and puffy areola around the nipple. There is often differences in the size and shape (asymmetry) of the breasts of an individual who has tuberous breast deformity.

The Psychological Effects of Having Tuberous Breasts

Many individuals with mild tuberous breasts, such as a high breast crease and a short distance between the nipple and the crease, may not be aware that they have a breast condition. However, individuals with moderate to severe tuberous breast deformities become aware from a young age that their breasts look different to what they see on TV, in magazines and the internet. Girls noticing these changes can have significant psychological problems that directly result from their breast deformity.

Commonly described:

  • Social embarrassment or even social withdrawal beginning at an already awkward time during their teenage years and continuing into adulthood.
  • An unwillingness to wear bathers, gym outfits and other fitted clothing further impact on their lives.
  • Difficulty fitting bras and having to wear padding to balance up their appearance.
  • Fear of intimacy
  • Low self esteem, insecurity, lack of confidence
  • Depression

All of these feelings are a completely normal reaction in women with tuberous breasts. Physical appearance is usually very connected to confidence levels and a healthy self image.

Can Surgery Fix Tuberous Breasts?

Tuberous breast deformities can be improved or corrected through surgery.

When initially assessing an individual I look to identify the features of tuberous breasts which have caused the unnatural shape.

The next step is to listen to what the patient would ideally like to achieve. Determining what the individual would like to achieve is the most important part of the consultation.

From here, the patient is guided as to what surgical techniques can be performed to best achieve their goals. “Sometimes the goal posts have to be shifted” If certain expectations cannot reasonably be achieved through any surgical techniques, then I explain the reasons why and work with the patient towards setting more realistic goals.

Tuberous breasts before surgery
Tuberous breasts before surgery
Patient with tuberous breasts after surgery with Dr Marcus Pyragius

Frequently, the breast base will need to be broadened. This is achieved by an internal release of the constricting tissue and insertion of breast implant (or tissue expander) to widen the breast base. IF the areolar is significantly enlarged then this will also need to be reduced.

Due to the high rate of breast size and shape differences (asymmetry) for an individual with tuberous breasts, different procedures may be carried out on each breast in order to better match the breasts with regards to size and shape. Breast lift and breast reduction procedures may also be performed to correct tuberous breast deformities.

Before committing to corrective breast surgery a patient must understand the details of the surgery and the potential risks. Patients must also know what to expect after surgery and plan an adequate recovery time.

If you’d like to read more about tuberous breasts click here.