Breast asymmetry is defined as a difference of form, position, or volume between the two breasts, and it affects more than half of all women. Typically, the asymmetry is more noticeable during puberty and eventually breast size evens out during development. However up to 25 percent of women have a persistent visible breast asymmetry.
The exact cause of asymmetric breasts is unknown, but possible contributors include hormonal changes or traumatic injuries. Occasionally, an underlying medical or skeletal condition may cause asymmetrical breasts. The conditions are not usually inherited.
Generally, slight differences in a woman’s breasts are of no concern. An augmentation or reduction surgical procedure may be performed, if the person with the asymmetry wishes, to make the breasts more symmetric.
Apart from simple size differences between the two breasts there can also be a “constricted breast”, “tuberous” or “tubular” breast condition. This condition is related to the development of the breast gland and the overlying skin in which the breast is not round, but oval, are often very different to each other, and develop in a shape that is often narrow on the chest with a long, thin, tube-like breast. In addition, the areolar (the pigmented circle around the nipple) may be enlarged in diameter, and the breast may be droopy. Often the two breasts are affected differently, with one commonly much larger and droopier than the other. This condition can vary from very mild to severe. In fact, one breast may be normal while the other is affected.
A variety of procedures can be performed to correct asymmetrical breasts. Breast implant surgery can make the smaller breast resemble the larger breast. Breast reduction surgery can make the larger breast more closely resemble the smaller breast. Breast lift surgery is designed to correct problems regarding the shape or droopiness of the breasts.
Surgery For Tuberous Breasts
Tuberous breast correction relies on the use of a carefully selected implant and carefully placed internal incisions in order to release scar tissue, round out the bottom of the breast, create a lower and more natural breast crease, create cleavage, add volume, and lift the breast. The surgery may be associated with a breast lift if there is extreme drooping.
For tuberous breasts, the tissue at the base of the breast needs to be released before any enhancement can be done. Our plastic surgeons will make radial incisions under the surface of the breast tissue. A temporary tissue expander is inserted to help increase the size and shape of the breast. During a later operation, the tissue expander will be taken out and replaced with a permanent breast implant.
Recovery from Tuberous Breast Surgery
For the first day or two move around gently and sit out of bed but avoid straining, lifting or moving your arms excessively. Begin a normal diet as desired.
In most cases you will wake up from your surgery wearing your bra. Purchase a soft, comfortable bra without underwires before your surgery, and bring it into hospital with you.
You can have a shower the day after surgery and can get your dressings wet in a quick shower. Water should be lukewarm, not hot. You should not have a bath or go swimming for two weeks after surgery.
Swelling and occasionally bruising are common and will subside within one to two weeks. Some patients report a sense of tightness of the breasts, which is due to the stretching of the tissues. Nipple sensitivity or numbness is common for up to 6 weeks after surgery. Any post-operative pain is generally minimal and well controlled by the analgesia prescribed by your surgeon. For those cases where the implant has been placed behind the muscle tissue, muscle relaxants (diazepam) may be prescribed.
Do not drive a car for the first week after surgery.
You may start gentle exercise (eg. walking ) two weeks after surgery, but do not start jogging on the road until at least one month after surgery, and do not commence any weight training until 4-6 weeks post-surgery – ease into this slowly!
The appearance of your implants will change slightly in the weeks after surgery. Most patients notice that their breasts are slightly swollen and sit higher initially.
Your surgeon will see you several times following your surgery to monitor your recovery, and the cost of these consultations is included in your procedure.
Frequently Asked Questions
Breast growth problems become apparent in puberty and it can be worthwile seeing a plastic surgeon for reassurance regarding the causes and treatment of the breast asymmetry. In many cases, it is best to wait for breast growth to be completed before surgically correcting any breast asymmetry. Your breasts have stopped growing when they have stayed a stable size and shape for at least one year.
Breast asymmetry surgery is performed under a general anaesthetic in an accredited private hospital. Most patients are able to go home one to three days after the surgery.
Following the surgery, your breasts will continue to change shape and size as they would normally through time. Breast feeding and weight changes are the most common causes for the shape and size of a woman’s breasts to change. It may be necessary to touch up the surgery if such changes occur.
The location of breast scars varies according to the procedure being performed. Tuberous breast deformity is usually approached through a periareolar (circle around the areola) scar to allow the size of the areola to be reduced during the operation. Breast reductions are performed using a vertical pattern approach which yields a scar around the areola and down the lower pole of the breast. Patients requiring breast implants usually have them inserted through a small scar located at the inframammary fold.
The cost of breast asymmetry surgery depends on the complexity of the surgery and its duration. In severe breast assymetry cases, multiple operations are required to perfect the shape and size of the breasts, areaolae and nipples. However you can expect approximately $15,000 – $17,500 including implants (if necessary), the surgeon’s fee, assistant’s fee, anaesthetist’s fee, hospital stay and garments if necessary.
This procedure may attract an item number from Medicare.
Breast enhancement surgery using an implant usually does not affect your ability to breastfeed. However, breast reduction surgery can interfere with breastfeeding in some women. If previous trauma, injury, or birth defects resulted in asymmetric breasts, these conditions can reduce the success of breastfeeding even after surgery.
It is not always possible to match both of your breasts during the operation. However, the purpose of the surgery is to improve the abnormality so that it is impossible to detect while you are wearing a bra or other clothing. Our plastic surgeons are highly skilled with experience using advanced techniques to improve the appearance of the breasts and increase self-esteem.
The scars from breast augmentation surgery are usually located in the crease beneath the breast. However, if other methods of treatment, such as breast reduction, are used, the scars will be more visible and placed around the nipple and areola, down to the lower part of the breast in the shape of a lollipop.
Tuberous breasts are often small with a narrow base and abnormally large nipples and areolas. As a result, it is usually more difficult to treat than breast asymmetry. Because the base of the breast is restricted, tissue must be released before improvements can be made. Our surgeons can create radial incisions on the surface of the breast. Tissue expanders can then be used to slowly increase the size of the breasts. During a second operation, the tissue expander is replaced with a permanent breast implant and the nipple and areola are adjusted to a more complementary size.
Different methods can be used to make the breasts more symmetrical. You can choose to undergo implant surgery to make the smaller breast more closely match the larger breast. Breast augmentation surgery usually requires the use of a tissue expander which helps to slowly increase the size of the breast before the permanent implant is inserted. Another method involves using breast reduction surgery to reduce the size of the larger breast to more closely match the smaller breast. However, if the difference between the two breasts is more about shape and droopiness than size, you can choose to undergo breast lift surgery for a more youthful appearance. Our surgeons can help you determine which approach is best suited to your needs during your initial consultation.
You will be seen by your surgeon within 7 days of your surgery.
Regular appointments are made to remove sutures and to check on your healing following surgery.
You will be given a Plastic Surgery Recovery guide upon booking your surgery. This document explains in great detail all of your after care following surgery.