What can be done to correct breast asymmetry?
In general, most women have some breast asymmetry - it is very normal!
In some cases, breast asymmetry can be very pronounced, or a symptom of anatomical irregularity or disease. This can be corrected through surgery. Dr Sharp will discuss the best options for you, which could include:
- Augmentation of the smaller breast
- Augmentation of both breasts, using two different implant sizes
- Lifting one or both of the breasts so they a positioned equally on the chest
- Reduction of the larger breast
Dr Sharp’s surgical approach will depend upon your specific case of asymmetry, and its cause.
If you notice any irregularities or asymmetry in your breast that you haven’t noted before, it is important to immediately make an appointment with your general practitioner or breast screening service, as this can be a sign of cancer.
What are the causes of breast asymmetry?
Breast asymmetry is often congenital, and can be due to muscular defects such as Poland’s syndrome, chest wall asymmetry or skeletal abnormalities such as pigeon chest or scoliosis. Sometimes, there is an irregularity in breast tissue and positioning, such as in the case of tuberous breasts.
What are the surgical options for breast asymmetry?
Breast asymmetry correction is a reconstructive procedure, with the surgery customised to suit the patient and their underlying condition or anatomy. Surgical approaches can include the use of implants, adjustment of the skeleton or muscle flaps.
Minor breast asymmetry
It is possible to correct moderate breast asymmetry with the use of breast implants. Often, this isn’t the cause of an underlying condition, it is just a slightly more obvious case of the asymmetry every woman experiences.
Anatomical implants come in a wide range of shapes, sizes and profiles, giving surgeons the versatility to choose an implant that will specifically rebalance the smaller breast to have a similar width, height and projection as the larger breast.
taylor each side to achieve near perfect symmetry. It is possible to use an identical height and width for the two sides, but use a different projection or profile to correct differences in chest wall and / or breast projection.
Dr Sharp will tailor a solution to suit your desired result.
Breast hypoplasia is the absence of breast development. In this case, there is often a very noticeable difference between the breasts, with one breast often lacking any development.
This is most commonly treated by the placement of an anatomical implant to help create a similar size and projection.
Tuberous breast deformity
Tuberous breast deformity is characterised by:
- size asymmetry
- deficiency of breast volume in the lower part of the breast, creating a tube-like breast shape
- large areola and nipple sitting low or pointing downwards, giving a ‘drooping’ appearance
Tuberous breast deformity can occur in one or both breasts, and occurs in varying ‘degrees’. The severity determines the surgical approach.
The patient often requires augmentation with an implant or expander, alongside a concurrent breast lift and areola reduction. Sometimes this must be done over multiple procedures.
Poland’s syndrome is characterised by abnormalities to the upper limb and chest, including the muscles of the chest wall - and breast, nipple and areola underdevelopment, specifically
- chest wall bony structures absent
- finger and hand abnormalities
- absence of chest wall muscles (e.g. latissimus dorsi or pectoralis major)
- absence of nipple, or;
- high nipple position
- narrow chest width
Depending on the severity of under developed, different techniques are employed by Dr Sharp to correct the chest wall’s contours and shape.
Using advanced microsurgical techniques, a latissimus dorsi flap followed by and breast implants are the most common forms of reconstruction. Techniques also include :
- Breast mound reconstruction with a tissue expander - which is inflated over time to help the skin stretch and accommodate the implantation of a permanent breast prosthesis down the track
- Reconstruction of the underlying deformed chest wall
- Flap reconstruction using a latissimus dorsi or a free flap reconstruction, known as a ‘TRAM’ flap
Rib cage deformity
There are two kinds of common chest wall deformities:
- Pectus Carinatum: also know as ‘pidgeon chest’, whereby the breast bone protrudes between the breasts
- Pectus Excavatum: when the breast bone and ribs sink deep towards the back, giving a cavernous appearance
These deformities can be one one side (unilateral) or both sides (bilateral).
In mild cases, breast augmentation is usually sufficient to correct the asymmetry. More severe abnormalities require referral to a thoracic surgeon. Chest wall shape correction may be required before a pleasing aesthetic breast result can be achieved using implants.