Tuberous Breasts: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

Breasts come in all different shapes and sizes. There are many different reasons why women choose to change their breasts to improve confidence and self-esteem. One reason why patients opt for breast augmentation is due to tuberous breasts. 

What are Tubular Breasts?

Tuberous breasts, also known as tubular breasts, have a tube shape instead of a round shape. The space between the breast is usually larger with a bigger areola. Often, tuberous breasts aren’t spoken about enough. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about and won’t affect your overall health. 

The congenital breast shape disorder stops tissue development in puberty. This results in drooping, small, and uneven breasts. Tuberous breasts go by a fair few names, including constricted breasts and tuberous breast deformity. It’s not a common condition, and the extent of the deformity can range significantly from mild to severe. 

Most spot the disorder at puberty, but with mild cases, you may not be aware of it until adulthood. Many don’t even know that it’s something that’s treatable. Deciding to correct tuberous breasts comes down to how your breasts look. Although it’s not a life-threatening medical condition, it can greatly impact your emotional and mental health. The condition can severely affect your quality of life.

Tuberous breasts treated with hybrid breast augmentation, doughnut uplift, VASER lipo, tummy tuck

How Common Are Tuberous Breasts?

The precise prevalence of tuberous breasts hasn’t been fully studied. But research suggests that there’s a high prevalence of tuberous breasts in the general population, especially in women seeking breast augmentation (about 50%). Tubular breasts are a somewhat common condition that occurs during puberty. As early growth is restricted, it results in breasts that are uneven, droopy, unusually shaped, and small. 

The Symptoms of Tuberous Breasts 

While it’s completely normal to have some differences between breasts, tuberous breasts are more noticeable. You will likely experience more significant variations and symptoms than just a general difference in breast size. 

What Do Tubular Breasts Look Like?

Patients with tuberous breasts can have different experiences from one another. In general, symptoms of tuberous breasts include: 

  • Cylindrical breast tissue 
  • Saggy appearance due to a higher lower breast fold 
  • A lot of space between the breasts 
  • Asymmetrical breasts 
  • Larger than the normal areola 
  • Only one breast may be affected 
  • Little fullness 
  • Protruding nipples 

Tuberous breasts tend to fall into three grade

1. Breast asymmetry with visual medial breast tissue deficiency. Typically, breasts look small with a short low pole. 

2. Areola points downwards, tight breast fold, and deficiency is mainly in the lower part of the breasts. 

3. All of the breast is affected, and the breasts have a noticeable tubular shape. 

Mild Tuberous Breasts 

Tubular breasts can be classified into separate categories depending on each case. Symptoms can range from mild to severe. You may have one or a handful of the above symptoms, depending on the severity of the condition. 

What Causes Tuberous Breasts?

The precise cause of tuberous breasts is relatively unknown. Some doctors believe that it results from something that happens in the womb, and there is a genetic link. But the actual tubular breasts cause is not confirmed yet. You don’t see tubular breasts until puberty, so they are not apparent from birth. In most cases, the ring of tissue that connects the breast to the areola isn’t the right shape, and this can lead to breasts that look droopy. 

Tubular breasts are a result of an abnormally thick and strong connective tissue in the chest area. This tissue hinders breast development, so the breasts tend to be small and have an abnormal shape. Currently, it’s not exactly clear what causes the connective tissue in the chest to thicken.

How to Diagnose Tubular Breasts?  

Your doctor will diagnose tuberous breasts based on how they look and shape. 

How Do You Treat Tuberous Breasts? 

Tissue Expansion 

Typically, you treat tuberous breasts in two stages. The first part releases the constricted breast tissue. Your surgeon will make a small incision which will widen the base of the breasts. Then, a breast implant is inserted to increase the volume of the breasts. If you would prefer not to have breast implants, another option is to tighten the breast with a breast lift. 

Breast Augmentation 

You can treat tuberous breasts with breast surgery. Breast augmentation surgery can help correct the shape of the breasts and lift them into a higher position. Breast augmentation or enlargement is usually combined with a breast lift to produce optimal results. 

Tuberous breast correction surgery takes up to 1.5 hours to perform. The precise technique and type of surgery you need will depend on the severity of the tuberous breasts. During breast augmentation, your surgeon will insert an implant to boost breast volume and stretch the skin. The result is a rounder and natural-looking breast shape. 

In the correction surgery, your surgeon can give your breast volume and alter your nipple shape and size if needed. With a serious case of tuberous breasts, the whole diameter of the nipple can be reduced, and incisions can be made to the base of the breast. 

Breast augmentation to treat tuberous breasts is slightly different from the standard procedure. This is because your surgeon will strategically target the width, symmetry, and fullness of the breast. So, it’s not uncommon for your breast surgery to include elements from different procedures, including a breast lift and breast asymmetry correction techniques. The procedure will be tailored to your individual case so that it addresses all your concerns. To do this, your plastics surgeon may need to utilise various components. 

Some cases may benefit from a secondary fat grafting procedure to really define the shape and fullness of the breast. Other patients opt for nipple procedures at the same time or following their breast implant procedure. Your doctor may utilise multiple techniques, including nipple corrective surgery when fixing tuberous breasts. As you can see, the precise approach can vary massively between patients. 

Fat Grafting

Another option to treat tuberous breasts is by using fat grafting techniques without breast implants. This is a less invasive procedure that uses the patient’s own fat and injects in the breasts. For those with less severe deformity, fat transfer breast augmentation could be a suitable treatment option. Fat grafting can help to loosen up the fat, change the appearance of pointy nipples, and give a fuller natural-looking cleavage. 

Breast Lift

Depending on the breast shape and severity of tubular breasts, a breast lift may be a suitable treatment option. By removing the excess skin and tightening the breast, a breast lift can significantly improve the shape and profile of the breasts. 

In some cases, your plastic surgeon may combine a breast lift and breast augmentation in the same procedure. Together, the procedures can provide a strong correction by adding shape and volume and removing excess skin to create a fuller and natural shape. 

Before and after breast augmentation with correction of tuberous breast deformity

Q+A: How to Fix Tuberous Breasts Without Surgery

Can You Fix Tubular Breasts Naturally?

The truth is that you can do very little to correct tubular breasts without surgery. You can’t change the structure of your breasts through diet, exercise, or any non-surgical technique, for that matter. To change the actual structure of the breast, surgery is the only effective option. 

The good news is that the condition is completely fixable with surgery. If tubular breasts are bothering you, an experienced and skilled plastic surgeon can help. 

Can Tubular Breasts Go Away?

Unfortunately, tubular breasts won’t go away if you leave them. Currently, there isn’t a natural or non-surgical alternative to improve tuberous breasts. Because tubular breasts involve tissue and the breast structure, you need to seek out an experienced plastic surgeon for tubular breast correction. There are different options for corrective treatment, such as breast implants or fat grafting. But, the condition will not clear up on its own without treatment. 

Can Tuberous Breast Change After Surgery?

Plastic surgery is a permanent solution to tuberous breasts. However, things like ageing, pregnancy, large weight changes, and breastfeeding can still impact the appearance of your breasts over time. 

How to Fix Tuberous Breasts Without Breast Implants 

Depending on your individual case, you may not always need breast implants to fix tuberous breasts. Breast augmentation with breast implants is usually the go-to cosmetic procedure for the condition. But, you may not always need breast implants. It could be possible to use fat transfer techniques to improve tuberous breasts. 

A suitable candidate for the procedure could use fat grafting techniques to improve breast asymmetry and create a natural look. The benefit of using only fat transfer techniques is that you don’t need an implant, so it’s considered a more natural approach to breast augmentation. This approach to fixing tuberous breasts may not work for all cases, but it’s something to talk about with your plastic surgeon.

Can Tuberous Breasts Produce Milk? 

When you have tuberous breasts it can be more difficult than normal to produce milk and breastfeed. Because of the lack of glandular tissue, which is the tissue that produces the milk, the condition can make breastfeeding harder. It’s difficult to give a definitive statement, but in general, women with tuberous breasts have a lower chance of successful breastfeeding. Women with tubular breasts have been found to produce milk and it is possible, but it’s something to discuss with your doctor 

Tuberous Breasts Correction Recovery 

Following your surgery, the results are instant, but you will need to wait several weeks for the swelling to go down. Depending on the type of surgery you get, your recovery time will differ. You should expect to take up to 2 weeks off work to heal. 

You can expect your recovery to take about 6 weeks, with the first couple of weeks having the biggest impact on your daily life. You may have drain tubes for the first few days and will need to wear a compression bra after your procedure. The post-surgical bra keeps your breasts in position while they are healing. It also reduces swelling and fluid build-up while keeping tension off your sutures. 

Dr Riaz Agha explains the importance of garments in cosmetic surgery recovery in the video below. 

The precise recovery time and steps may differ because the procedure can change depending on your needs. The level of correction needed and techniques required will all play a part in your recovery timeline. This is just a general idea of what to expect. Your plastic surgeon will be able to give you more precise information during your cosmetic surgery consultation

Who is a Suitable Candidate for Tubular Breasts Correction Surgery? 

A suitable candidate for this procedure is no longer developing. It’s important that the breasts are fully mature and won’t continue to change and develop. Often, patients are in either their 20s or 30s when they have the surgery. But that’s not to say you can’t have the procedure later in life, as many people don’t realise that it’s a treatable condition with corrective surgery. 

The first step in correcting tubular breasts is speaking with a skilled and experienced plastic surgeon. Your doctor will assess your situation, and you will have a transparent conversation where you learn about all your different options. During your consultation, your plastic surgeon should be able to give you an idea of what to expect after your procedure and answer all of your questions. 

If you’re concerned with tuberous breasts and think that breast surgery could be a solution for you, it’s important that you speak to a highly qualified plastic surgeon with expert knowledge in corrective breast surgery. Tuberous breast correction surgery can treat tubular breasts, helping to boost confidence and create a round and natural breast shape. 

Book a consultation today at the Harley Clinic to talk about your options and speak to an expert breast surgeon

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