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What are tuberous breasts?

Tuberous breasts become obvious to most women when their breasts begin to grow and mature during puberty. Instead of the breasts growing in the usual round, full proportions, they look pointy, lack volume or have disproportionate nipples.

Breasts that are under-developed or shaped more like a tube than the usual teardrop shape are called tuberous breasts. This is a genetic condition, not simply breasts that are naturally smaller. Tuberous breasts are usually under-developed, with a smaller base and prominent, enlarged areolas. The narrow base can cause the breast to look long or unusually shaped.

Tuberous breasts are a common genetic condition. This condition is also called by various other labels, such as constricted breasts, or breast deformity. The condition can cause a wide variety of effects on breast shape and symmetry, some of which can be severe. This genetic condition develops when the breasts are maturing, creating a fibrous band of breast tissue that results in enlarged nipples and areolas and misshapen, tube-like breasts.

Tubular breasts can cause issues for women beyond cosmetic concerns. One issue is the ability to breastfeed. Some cases of tubular breasts involve a lack of milk gland development to allow for the woman to produce enough milk for breastfeeding at all.

Tuberous breast correction surgical procedure

Once patients are prepared, Dr. Courtney will perform tuberous breast correction in his Houston office as an outpatient procedure under general anesthesia, administered by a board-certified anesthesiologist. The procedure takes 2.5 - 3 hours.

Because tuberous breasts are caused by a restriction of growth at the base of the breasts, this tissue must be released to allow the breasts to have a round, full shape. Dr. Courtney will first surgically release the tight tissue at the base of the breast.

The tubular shape of your breasts can then be altered by reshaping your breasts, either through release of the constricted tissue alone or by a simultaneous breast lift.

Tissue expansion in tuberous breast surgery

Some women may have a specific type of tuberous breasts, where the skin of the breasts is particularly tight. In these cases, Dr. Courtney may recommend a period of tissue expansion. This is a procedure done to stretch out the breast skin prior to the placement of a permanent implant. The tissue expander is an inflatable implant that is placed beneath the skin and breast tissue. Through a small valve in the expander, saltwater is gradually injected over a period of about three months.

Once the expansion is complete, your breast skin will be given another three months to reform and accommodate this new size. A second surgery is planned upon the completion of this step. In this second surgery, the expander is removed and replaced with a permanent silicone or saline implant. Dr. Courtney will consult, discuss your options and goals, and then recommend the size, shape, and type of implant that will create the results you want to see.

Signs of tuberous breasts

Tuberous breasts can have a wide variety of characteristics. You may notice enlarged or puffy areolas or limited amounts of breast tissue, especially at the base of the breasts. Some women may notice an unusually wide amount of space between the breasts. Breasts may appear misshapen, pointy or asymmetrical. Women may have just one of these signs, or all of them.

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Recovery after tuberous breast surgery

Patients recover in our private recovery room. They are discharged home with a friend or family member once they are awake and comfortable, usually one or two hours after the surgery is complete. 

Following the surgery, Dr. Courtney and our entire staff are available for anything you might need, day or night. Routine follow-up visits are at one week, six weeks, and 12 months. Dr. Courtney will provide information regarding breast health, examination, and exercises.

 During the first week, patients will wear a post-surgical bra provided by the office. Drain tubes are used, which remain in place for approximately 4–5 days. Breasts may appear firm and swollen for approximately 10–14 days, with shape and size apparent around 12 weeks.

Patients can usually drive in three days and may return to work or school in 4-5 days, as long as there is no physically demanding activity.

Light exercise may be resumed at 5-7 days, and more vigorous physical activity is allowed three weeks after surgery. 

Tuberous breast correction in Houston with Dr. Courtney

Dr. Courtney will sit down with you to discuss your condition and surgical options. You will go over your concerns, procedure options, family history, lifestyle, and any questions or topics that are important to you. Dr. Courtney will create a personalized treatment plan for you based on this consultation.

 An important first step will be a careful examination to determine the degree of your tuberous breast condition. Dr. Courtney will assess symmetry, breast volume, nipple and areolar position, and a number of other factors.

Next, you and Dr. Courtney will discuss your goals and the best approach for an outcome that gives you normally balanced, attractive breasts.

Leading up to the procedure, patients will talk more with Dr. Courtney to cover every detail of the surgery they need or want to know about. He will arrange routine lab testing and arrange prescription medication before and after the surgery. Patients will do sizing exercises with inserts placed into a special bra.

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