The Surgeon Minute

Breast Deformities Improved with Modern Implants

Breast Deformities Improved with Modern Implants

Women suffering from breast deformities are often overlooked. Tuberous breasts occur when breasts fail to properly develop during puberty, allowing for a stunted, deformed appearance that can take an enormous toll on a woman’s self-confidence. Dr. Caroline Glicksman of New Jersey speaks about the highly successful treatment of tuberous breasts with breast augmentation, and how women struggling with confidence issues can make a real change in their lives.

By: Caroline Glicksman, MD
and Adam McMillon

What Exactly is a Tuberous Breast?

As young women develop during puberty, the breasts undergo the largest period of growth in a woman’s life. For some, the breasts fail to develop naturally, and instead, mature into abnormal, deformed breasts, known as tuberous breasts. “The deformity can affect the breasts in a variety of different ways,” says Dr. Glicksman. “Often tuberous breasts have a very narrow base to them, a short distance from the nipple to the fold, large areolas, or even a significant asymmetry to the breasts, meaning one breast looks vastly different than the other.” As a young woman notices the distorted appearance and hopes that, in the end, her breasts will naturally develop, the hope slowly begins to change into an issue with self-confidence, something that many women face during their prime years of life.

Fixing the problem: What can be done?

The advancements in plastic surgery as it pertains to breast augmentation have included an evolution in breast implant technology and surgical innovation. Fortunately for those suffering from tuberous breasts, recent advancements in breast augmentation allow for the possibility of correcting the deformity often with much less surgery. The availability of shaped highly cohesive gels provides surgeons another tool to produce a natural looking breast. “I recently had a patient come in who had been struggling with tuberous breasts since adolescence and was ready to make a change,” says Glicksman. “She had been told that a breast lift with heavy scarring might be the only way to correct her deformity. We discussed the possible use of the “Gummy Bear” type implants that are made from a more highly cohesive gel. These implants are extremely useful in producing a change in breast shape, not just a change in volume. Before, implants were a lot softer, so correcting tuberous breasts often involved surgery to expand the breast in order to make a space for the implant that would improve appearance. Now, with the newly approved form-stable implants, all that we need is the implant themselves to shape the breast.”

The highly cohesive gel implants, recently approved by the FDA for use in the US, are implants whose shape remains consistent over the years, and unlike round implants that contain saline or a less cohesive gel, these implants do not fold or collapse. These newer implants maintain their shape for many years and allow surgeons a new tool to correct issues such as tuberous breasts.

Form Stable Implant Improves Breast Shape

“I told my patient we would give the form-stable implants about 4-6 months to settle in before we would consider additional surgery,” says Glicksman. “Well, after those 6 months, her breasts continued to improve and after 2 years, she decided that she was not interested in doing a lift. She accepted the small asymmetries between her breasts and was happy not to have visible scars. Over those years, the form-stable implant had shaped her deformed breast, and she required no lift or other surgery to make them look natural. With the new highly cohesive shaped implants, we achieved success in this patient, and allowed her for the first time to live life as a normal woman with improved self-esteem and confidence.”

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