Tuberous breasts (or tubular breasts) are a result of a congenital abnormality of the breasts which can occur in both men and women (also see Hypoplasia), one breast or both. During puberty breast development is stymied and the breasts fail to develop normally and fully. The exact cause of this is as yet unclear; however, a study in 2011 of the cells in the breasts of both males and females with tubular breasts suggested a genetic link in a disorder of collagen deposition. The condition is thought to affect one to five per cent of breast augmentation patients; however, the proportion of the general population affected is unknown as surgery is not always sought.
|A pair of tuberous breasts displaying typical characteristics such as minimal breast tissue and enlarged, puffy areola.|
|Complications||low milk production|
The tuberous breast deformity was first described by Rees and Aston in 1976 following which a method of classifying the severity was developed. The surgical classifications refer to which areas of the breast are affected and is divided into three grades; mainly in the inferomedial quadrant (Grade I); in the two inferior quadrants (Grade II); or affecting the whole breast (Grade III).
Tuberous breasts are not simply small or underdeveloped breasts. The effect of the condition on the appearance of the breast can range from mild to severe, and typical characteristics include: enlarged, puffy areola, unusually wide spacing between the breasts, minimal breast tissue, sagging, higher than normal breast fold, and narrow base at the chest wall. The condition can cause low milk supply in breastfeeding women. However, other physical aspects of fertility and pregnancy are not affected by the condition.
Due to unrealistic societal expectations of breast size and shape, tubular breasts may lead to psychosexual problems with girls in very early puberty being affected psychologically due to the unusual shape of the breast. Surgical papers about the techniques useful in correcting tubular breasts note that even when results are not perfect, the psychological impact of treatment is immense, with notable improvements in self-esteem to the level where the person engages in normal social activities.
The examples and perspective in this section deal primarily with the United Kingdom and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (April 2013) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
The procedure to change the appearance of tuberous breasts can be more complicated than a regular breast augmentation, and some plastic surgeons have specialist training in tuberous breast correction. A less complicated single-stage approach using saline implants can also provide a satisfactory aesthetic result.  As tuberous breasts are a congenital deformity, referral for treatment under the National Health Service may be possible in the United Kingdom. A starting point for those seeking such a referral may be a visit to their local General Practitioner. For those seeking non-surgical solutions, counseling may be recommended as a way of coming to terms with body image.
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- Tubular Breast Correction
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- Policy for Cosmetic Surgery Referrals