Are you self-conscious about the shape of your breasts? Perhaps they appear misshapen, elongated, flat in the lower part, or constricted around the nipple with a large puffy areola. If this sounds familiar, you may have a condition called tuberous breasts. The condition was named years ago by surgeons who thought these oddly-shaped breasts looked like a tuber (root vegetable, like a sweet potato!). We can also call this “constricted breasts” if that sounds better to you.
Tuberous breasts are very different than breasts that are simply small, and for that reason the surgical approach is often more complex. Sometimes only one breast is affected, while other times both are. It’s very common to see significant asymmetry between the two sides. Often tuberous breasts aren’t really evident until after puberty, when the breasts begin to take on a mature shape. Sometimes one side will lag in development and stay small and tight while the other side develops normally.
Common signs of tuberous breasts include:
- Breasts that appear pointy
- Lack of fullness / roundness in the lower part of the breast
- A high, tight crease under the breast
- Puffy areolas that can be either larger or smaller than the other breast
- Asymmetry between the two breasts
The first step toward surgery is to meet for a consultation. We’ll examine you and talk about your goals and concerns. Every tuberous breast case is a bit different, so we’ll customize our approach to your specific anatomy.
Tuberous breast surgery is performed using a variety of techniques depending on your anatomy and breast shape and size. The goals are typically to:
- Release constricted fibrous bands in the tissue of the lower part of the breast.
- Lengthen the distance from the nipple to the crease under the breast
- Add roundness to the lower part of the breast
- Reduce the size and puffiness of the areola
- Adjust nipple position as needed
- Add volume as needed
This can be accomplished with a variety of techniques. Often we need to combine techniques and/or vary the approach to each breast, depending on the anatomy. Common techniques we apply to tuberous breast correction include:
- Breast implants
- Periareolar breast lift (mastopexy)
- Fat grafting
- Internal rearrangement of breast tissue
This process usually takes about 2-4 hours in surgery, depending on the complexity of your procedure.
Ideal candidates are in good general health, nonsmoking, and have realistic expectations for the outcome of their surgery. Tuberous breast surgery is one of the more complex problems we encounter as breast surgeons, and realistic expectations are very important. We can usually make the shape and asymmetry significantly better, but often not exactly the same.
Recovery may vary depending on the exact details of your breast surgery and your individual anatomy. Most women take it easy for about 2 weeks and then gradually increase activity to normal by 4 weeks. We’ll provide you with specific instructions regarding recovery.
If you are considering improving the shape and appearance of your tuberous breasts, we’d love to talk to you. Contact us at (802) 231-4284 to learn more and schedule your initial consultation appointment with Dr. MacLennan or Dr. Schmidt.