Tuberous breast deformity may not be a household name, but this congenital disorder disrupts breast development during puberty for many women. Instead of naturally blossoming, the breasts take on a tubular, constricted shape with a narrow base and protruding areolas. The psychological impacts of this anomaly extend beyond the physical.

In this article, we’ll dive into the characteristics, causes, classification scale, and both surgical and nonsurgical solutions to correct tuberous breasts. You’ll learn the differences between mild and the most severe cases, ranging from minor shape irregularities to almost cylindrical breasts.

While some women (and men) live with the condition, options exist – from implants to breast tissue rearrangement– to achieve the aesthetic, proportional shape you desire. Most importantly, we’ll discuss how to find the right type of surgeon to evaluate your case and design a customized treatment plan.

Tuberous breast deformity may seem bewildering, but knowledge is power. Use this guide to demystify the deformity, understand your options, and reclaim your confidence. The shapely breasts you deserve are within reach.

Key Takeaways


  • 💡 Tuberous breast deformity is a congenital disorder that affects breast development during puberty, resulting in a tubular, constricted shape with a narrow base and protruding areolas.
  • 💉 Treatment options for tuberous breast deformity include breast augmentation with implants, breast lift, and breast reconstruction surgery.
  • 🧬 The exact cause of tubular breasts is unknown, but it is believed to be related to genetics or hormonal imbalances.
  • 📋 Tuberous breasts can be classified into different types based on a classification system that helps determine the severity of the deformity and guide treatment approaches.
  • ⚖️ Tuberous breast deformity can cause emotional distress and impact self-esteem, but options exist to achieve the desired aesthetic shape and improve confidence.
  • 🩺 Diagnosing tuberous breast deformity involves a physical exam by a healthcare professional using specific diagnostic criteria to distinguish it from other conditions with similar features.
  • 🏥 Treatment options for tuberous breast deformity are based on the tuberous breast classifications, ranging from nonsurgical options such as hormone therapy or fat transfer to surgical techniques like breast augmentation, breast lift, or fat grafting.


What Are Tubular Breasts?

If you have tubular breasts, it means that your breasts have a distinct shape and appearance due to a congenital deformity. Tubular breasts, also known as tuberous breasts or conical breasts, are characterized by a narrow base, a higher than normal inframammary fold, and a lack of fullness in the lower portion of the breast. This deformity occurs because the breast tissue does not properly develop during puberty.

The exact cause of tuberous breast deformity is still uncertain, but it is hypothesized that hormonal imbalances, including progesterone levels, could contribute to this condition. While tubular breasts are not harmful to your health, they can cause emotional distress and impact your self-esteem. It can also be challenging when breastfeeding with tubular breasts.


Tuberous Breast Deformity Types, Grades and Classifications

Tuberous Breast Deformity Types, Grades and Classifications

What is Tuberous Breast Deformity?

Tuberous breast deformity is a condition where the breasts have an abnormal shape and development. The main characteristic of this condition is the constricted or narrow base of the breast, which gives it a tubular or elongated appearance. The breasts may also appear droopy or saggy, with a high and tight crease at the base. The areolas may be enlarged or puffy, and the nipples may be positioned lower than normal.

Treatment options for correcting tuberous breast deformity include breast augmentation with implants, breast lift, and breast reconstruction surgery. Correction of this condition can greatly improve the shape and appearance of the breasts, enhancing your overall self-confidence and body image.

Causes of the Tubular Breast Deformity

The development of tubular breasts is influenced by various factors, including genetics, hormonal imbalances, and abnormal breast developmental issues during puberty. This deformity occurs due to insufficient breast tissue growth during puberty, resulting in underdeveloped breasts. Genetics play a significant role in the development of the tubular breast syndrome, as it is often seen in families with a history of the condition. Hormonal imbalances, such as an excess of estrogen or progesterone, can also contribute to the development of tubular breasts. Additionally, developmental issues during puberty, such as breast tissue malformation or constriction, can further contribute to the deformity.

Comparison to Normal Breast Development

During normal breast development, the breasts typically have a round shape, a wider base, and a lower inframammary fold. However, in the case of tuberous breast deformity, there are significant differences in breast appearance and structure. Tuberous breasts progesterone influenced characteristics include a narrow base, a constricted lower pole, and a higher inframammary fold. The breasts may also appear droopy or saggy, with a lack of fullness in the upper portion. This deformity is caused by a combination of genetic factors, hormonal imbalances, and developmental abnormalities during puberty. While the exact cause is not fully understood, it is believed that the condition may be influenced by factors such as estrogen levels and fibrous tissue growth.


Different Types of Tuberous Breasts Deformities

When it comes to tuberous breasts, there are different types that can be classified based on a classification system. This classification system helps in determining the severity of the deformity and guides the treatment approach. Another important aspect to consider is the degree of asymmetry between the tuberous breasts, which can vary from mild to severe.

Let’s delve into the detailed ‘tuberous breast classification’ system utilized to categorize and differentiate the various types of tuberous breasts. Each classification delineates specific features like breast shape, nipple positioning, and the extent of constriction. Understanding these classifications is crucial in determining the appropriate treatment and correction methods for tuberous breasts.

Tuberous Breast Deformity Types from Type I to Type IV

Tuberous Breast Deformity Types from Type I to Type IV


Type I

Type I is the mildest form of tuberous breast deformity. The breasts demonstrate subtle tubularity but maintain adequate lower pole fullness. Areolas may be slightly enlarged but asymmetry is minimal. The inframammary fold and breast base show only mild constriction. The subtle malformation is likely due to minor disruption of breast development in the fetus or at puberty. Type I deformity typically causes little psychosocial distress and is often simply treated with straightforward breast augmentation surgery via implants. The mild tubular characteristics can be largely corrected by additional volume strategically placed to expand the constricted areas. More complex procedures involving parenchymal or breast tissue remodeling or breast lift techniques are rarely needed for Type I tuberous breasts.

Type II

Type II tuberous breast deformity demonstrates moderate breast tubularity and asymmetry. There is noticeable constriction of the breast base diameter and a high inframammary fold. The lower pole of the breast appears foreshortened, with tissue herniating into an enlarged areola. The nipple is often widened and malpositioned. The moderate deformity results from disrupted breast development in utero through puberty. Treatment of Type II typically involves implants to add volume, along with surgical techniques like parenchymal remodeling and mastopexy to expand the breast base and reposition the nipple-areola complex. Multiple procedures may be required in a staged approach to achieve the desired shape. Type II tuberous breast correction is more complex than Type I, but significant improvement is often attainable.

Type III

Type III tuberous breast deformity exhibits severe breast constriction and marked asymmetry. The breast base diameter is severely narrowed and the inframammary fold is extremely high and tight. The lower pole appears tubular and flattened with significant upward displacement of breast tissue distorting the nipple-areola complex. The areola is often enlarged onto the constricted breast base. This severe malformation results from major disruption of breast development in the chest wall. Correcting Type III requires an extensive approach including tissue expansion to enlarge the constricted space, implants for volume, extensive parenchymal breast tissue mobilization and nipple grafting, and breast lifting mastopexy techniques to lower and reconstruct the new breast mound. Several staged procedures are typically needed for the most aesthetically acceptable outcome from this severe deformity.

Type IV

Type IV is the most severe form of tuberous breast deformity. There is extreme constriction of the breast base and lower pole with complete lack of inframammary fold definition. The breast tissue appears almost completely tubular and cylindrical in shape. The nipple-areola complex is severely distorted, with the areola extending nearly to the chest wall. Marked breast asymmetry is present. Type IV results from profoundly aberrant breast development. Correction involves the most extensive remodeling and staged reconstruction. Tissue expansion of the breast footprint is required first, followed by large implants to add volume combined with comprehensive parenchymal mobilization and mastopexy work including possible nipple grafting. This means that the nipple would have to be severed off and placed in a different, more adequate location as a skin graft. Several sequential surgeries are needed to achieve the maximum possible aesthetic improvement from this severe deformity.

Type 0 - Tubular Breast Deformity

Type 0 – Tubular Breast Deformity

Type 0

Type 0 tuberous breast deformity is characterized by enlargement and herniation of breast tissue into the areola, causing it to appear protruded. The nipples are often widened or misshapen. However, the overall breast shape, volume, and inframammary fold are normal. The underlying breast tissue is adequately developed.

Type 0 involves malformation isolated to the areola and nipple complex rather than the entire breast mound. Surgical correction focuses on reducing and repositioning the areola, sometimes combined with breast lifting mastopexy techniques to correct the protrusion and improve contour.


Degree of Asymmetry in Tuberous Breast Classification

Tubular breasts can also be classified by their degree of asymmetry, which are: mild, moderate, and severe. Mild asymmetry refers to a slight difference in size or shape between the breasts, while moderate asymmetry indicates a more noticeable imbalance. Severe asymmetry, on the other hand, involves a significant difference in size, shape, and positioning of the breasts.

Tuberous Breast Asymmetry Grades - Mild, Moderate and Severe

Tuberous Breast Asymmetry Grades – Mild, Moderate and Severe


  • Grade A: In cases of Mild Asymmetry in tubular breasts, the volume difference is classified as less than 200 grams.
  • Grade B: Moderate asymmetry is categorized when the volume difference falls between 200 and 400 grams.
  • Grade C: Severe asymmetry in tubular breasts is indicated when the volume difference exceeds 400 grams.


Symptoms of Tuberous Breast Deformity

When it comes to tuberous breast deformity, there are several symptoms and signs to be aware of. You may notice a tubular shape to the breasts, with a constricted base and puffy areolas. Another common symptom is a lack of lower pole fullness and a high inframammary fold.

Tubular Breasts Appearance – If you have tubular breasts, you may notice a tubular shape, a constricted base, and puffy areolas. This tubular appearance is one of the key indicators of tuberous breast deformities. The breasts may have a narrow and elongated shape, resembling a tube or a droopy appearance. The base of the breasts can be tight and narrow, which causes them to appear underdeveloped. Additionally, the areolas may appear puffy or protrude more than usual.

Lack of Lower Pole Fullness – You may notice a lack of lower pole fullness in your breasts if you have a tubular breast deformity. The lack of lower pole fullness refers to the underdevelopment of the lower part of the breast, leading to a flattened appearance. This can cause the breasts to have a more elongated shape and a less rounded contour.

What are tubular breasts? Profiles of different types

Profiles of different types of tubular breasts

High Inframammary Fold – To identify the high inframammary fold, look for a crease or indentation beneath your breast. The high inframammary fold occurs when the fold beneath the breast is positioned higher than normal. This can result in a constricted and tubular appearance of the breast.

Breast Asymmetry – Breast asymmetry refers to a difference in size, shape, or position between the two breasts. This can occur naturally or due to various factors such as hormonal changes, genetics, trauma, or previous surgeries. Common signs of breast asymmetry include one breast being larger or smaller than the other, differences in nipple position or size, and variations in breast shape.


Tuberous Breast Deformity Diagnosis

To diagnose tuberous breast deformity, a physical exam is typically performed by a Physician who can then refer to a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon and they have specific diagnostic criteria. The exam involves evaluating the size, shape, and symmetry of the breasts, as well as assessing the position of the nipple and areola complex. Additionally, the Plastic Surgeon will distinguish tuberous breast deformity from other conditions that may present with similar features, such as breast asymmetry, constricted breast or breast hypoplasia. By distinguishing these specific characteristics, your plastic surgeon can develop an appropriate treatment plan, which may include tubular breast correction surgery to achieve a more balanced and aesthetically pleasing breast appearance.


Tuberous Breast Deformity Treatment Options

When it comes to treating tuberous breast deformity, you have a range of options available. Nonsurgical options may include hormone therapy or fat transfer to improve breast shape and size. Surgical correction techniques such as breast augmentation with implants or a breast lift can also be considered. Your plastic surgeon will create a customized surgical plan based on your specific needs and desired outcome. It’s important to discuss the recovery expectations with your surgeon to ensure a smooth and successful healing process.

Nonsurgical Options for Tuberous Breast Deformity

While the only definitive way to correct this condition is through surgery, there are nonsurgical options that can help improve its appearance. One of those options is Hormone therapy, such as the use of estrogen and progesterone, may be prescribed to promote breast development and tissue growth. This treatment option is more commonly used in younger patients who are still experiencing breast development. Another nonsurgical option is Fat grafting, where fat is taken from other areas of the body and injected into the breasts to add volume and improve their shape. While these nonsurgical options may not provide the same level of correction as surgery, they can still significantly improve the appearance of tuberous breasts and may be a suitable alternative for those who do not wish to undergo tuberous breast surgery.

Surgical Correction Techniques

There are several surgical techniques available to address tubular breast deformity, collectively known as Tuberous Breast Correction surgery. This cosmetic procedure is specifically designed to target the shape and appearance of tubular breasts. Each of the following surgical techniques employed during this procedure vary depending on the severity and type of the deformity, allowing for a tailored approach to achieve optimal results.

Inferior pedicle dissection

This procedure involves making an incision along the lower border of the breast, creating a pedicle of breast tissue that is attached to the nipple. Here are some key points about inferior pedicle dissection:

    • It allows for repositioning and reshaping of the breast tissue to achieve a more natural appearance.
    • The technique helps to increase breast volume and correct the sagging or drooping of the breasts.
    • It also enables the surgeon to perform a breast lift, if needed, to further enhance the overall shape and symmetry of the breasts.

Breast implants

Breast implants, also known as Breast Augmentation, can help correct the shape and size of the breasts affected by tuberous breast deformity. During the procedure, the plastic surgeon will place the implants either above or below the chest muscles to enhance the appearance of the breasts. This surgical correction technique aims to provide a more balanced and natural-looking breast contour.

Fat grafting

Fat grafting involves transferring fat from other areas of your body to your breasts. In theory, this procedure can help improve the shape and volume of your breasts, creating a more balanced and natural appearance. Here are some key points about fat grafting for tuberous breast deformity treatment:

  • Fat grafting utilizes your own body fat as a natural filler to reshape and enhance the breasts.
  • The fat is harvested through liposuction from areas such as the abdomen, thighs, or hips.
  • The harvested fat is then processed and purified before being injected into specific areas of the breasts to address the deformity.
  • Fat grafting can be performed as a standalone procedure or in combination with other techniques, such as breast implants or breast lift surgery, to achieve the desired results.
  • Results from fat grafting are typically long-lasting, but multiple sessions may be required to achieve the desired outcome.
  • Ultimately, fat grafting could turn into fat necrosis and lumpy appearance of the breast tissue. Eliciting additional work up to rule out coincidental cancerous lesions.
Breast Implant Types

Breast Implant Types

Mastopexy techniques

For tuberous breast deformity treatment, there are various breast lifting or mastopexy techniques available that can help correct the shape and position of the breasts. One option is a breast reduction, which involves removing excess breast tissue and reshaping the breasts. Another option is a breast mastopexy with implants, where an implant is inserted to increase the size and improve the shape of the breasts. Both of these techniques can be effective in the correction of tuberous breasts.

Glandular remodeling

This procedure involves reshaping and repositioning the underdeveloped breast tissue to achieve a more natural and aesthetically pleasing appearance. Glandular remodeling is performed by creating incisions around the areola and removing excess breast tissue. The plastic surgeon then rearranges the remaining glandular tissue to create a fuller and more symmetrical breast shape. This technique can provide significant improvement in both the size and shape of tuberous breasts.

Tissue expanders

Tissue expanders are inflatable devices that are placed beneath the breast tissue to create space and stretch the skin. This allows for the gradual expansion of the breast and helps to correct the tuberous shape. Once the desired expansion is achieved, the tissue expander is replaced with a permanent breast implant, resulting in a more natural appearance.

Male breast reduction

For the correction of tuberous breast deformity in men, the most effective surgical technique involves the removal of excess breast tissue and reshaping the chest to achieve a more masculine appearance. This procedure is commonly referred to as male breast reduction or Gynecomastia surgery. Tuberous breast deformity in males can be caused by hormonal imbalances, genetics, or certain medications. Gynecomastia surgery is often utilized to address both gynecomastia and tuberous breast deformity in men, providing a comprehensive solution for patients seeking to improve their chest contour.

Areola reduction

When addressing tuberous breast deformity, one option for reducing the size of the areola is by making an incision around it and removing excess skin. This helps create a more balanced and proportionate appearance of the breasts and corrects enlarged or puffy areolas commonly seen in tuberous breast deformity. Areola reduction is often done alongside other surgeries for the best results.

Customized Surgical Plans

Customized surgical plans are tailored to the individual’s specific needs and goals. Correction of tuberous breast deformity requires careful planning and execution to achieve the desired results. By creating customized surgical plans, plastic surgeons can address the unique characteristics of each patient’s tuberous breast deformity and provide them with the best possible outcome.

Recovery Expectations

To manage your recovery expectations after undergoing treatment for tuberous breast deformity, it is important to understand the expected healing process and follow your surgeon’s post-operative instructions closely. Recovery from tuberous breast deformity treatment can vary depending on the specific procedure performed. The expected healing process involves swelling and bruising, which should gradually subside over a few weeks. You may experience pain and discomfort, but this can be managed with prescribed pain medication. Your surgeon will provide guidelines on when you can resume normal activities, such as exercise and lifting heavy objects.


Consulting a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon

Consulting a certified surgeon who specializes in breast surgery is crucial when considering the importance of proper credentials. When it comes to a complex condition like tuberous breast deformity, you need a skilled and experienced Board-Certified plastic surgeon. Here are three reasons why the credentials of a plastic surgeon matter:

  • Expertise: A board-certified plastic surgeon has undergone extensive training and education to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to perform breast reconstruction surgeries. They have a deep understanding of the causes and complexities of tuberous breast deformity, allowing them to develop personalized treatment plans.
  • Safety: Plastic surgery is a delicate procedure that requires precision and attention to detail. A board-certified plastic surgeon follows strict safety protocols and guidelines to minimize risks and ensure the best possible outcomes for their patients.
  • Results: By choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon, you increase the likelihood of achieving successful correction of tuberous breast deformity. Their expertise and experience enable them to deliver natural-looking and aesthetically pleasing results.


Contact Our Office!

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the Tuberous Breast Deformity or if you are currently suffering from this condition and would like to learn more about your specific surgical options, we encourage you to reach out to our office for a consultation with Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon Dr. Jennyfer F. Cocco, MD. She will answer all of your questions and address any concerns you may have.Dr. Cocco is highly specialized in breast procedures and can provide valuable insights and recommendations tailored to your unique situation. We are here to provide support and guidance every step of the way.


    Questions to Ask at Consultation

    During consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon, ask specific questions to gather necessary information. Start by understanding the causes of tuberous breast deformity. Inquire about available treatment options and surgical techniques for correction. Also, ask about potential risks and complications. Lastly, inquire about the surgeon’s experience in performing tuberous breast deformity correction surgeries.

    Developing a Correction Strategy

    To develop a correction strategy, consult a board-certified plastic surgeon who can provide expert guidance and personalized treatment options. They will assess the severity of the deformity, explain the causes, and discuss various correction techniques, such as breast augmentation or lift.


    Conclusion – Tuberous Breast Deformity and Tubular Breasts Correction

    In conclusion, tuberous breast deformity is a condition that can affect the shape and development of the breasts. It is characterized by a narrow base, a higher inframammary fold, and a lack of fullness in the lower portion the breast. the exact cause is unknown, it is believed to be related genetics or hormonal imbalances (Estrogen and progesterone).

    Fortunately, there are treatment options available to tuberous breasts. Nonsurgical options such as hormone or fat grafting can help improve the appearance of tuberous breasts. Surgical correction techniques including breast augmentation with implants, breast lift, and tissue expansion can also be considered.

    It’s important to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon who specializes in tuberous breast deformity to evaluate your case and design a personalized treatment plan. With the right approach, you can achieve a more natural and symmetrical breast shape, enhancing your self-confidence and body image.

    Remember, knowledge is power. By understanding tuberous breast deformity and exploring your treatment options, you can take control of your journey towards reclaiming your confidence and achieving the shapely breasts you desire.




    Frequently Asked Questions

    Are tubular breasts a concern?

    Tubular breasts are a common cosmetic concern for many women. Although they do not pose any health risks, they can make women feel self-conscious and affect their body image. Surgical interventions such as breast augmentation or a breast lift can help correct this condition.

    Can I breastfeed with tubular breasts?

    Yes, tubular breast breastfeeding is possible. Although this deformity can pose challenges due to the specific shape of the breasts, seeking guidance and assistance, particularly from lactation consultants, can significantly aid women with tubular breasts in successfully breastfeeding.

    What are the causes of tubular breasts?

    The exact cause of tubular breasts is unknown, but it is believed to be related to a combination of genetic and hormonal factors. Connective tissue abnormalities may also play a role in the development of tubular breasts.

    How common are tubular breasts?

    Tubular breasts are relatively rare, occurring in approximately 1-5% of the female population. However, the severity of the condition can vary from mild to severe.

    Is tubular breast deformity a congenital condition?

    Yes, tubular breast deformity is a congenital condition, meaning it is present at birth. Individuals with tubular breasts often seek breast corrective surgery to achieve a more natural and symmetrical breast shape.

    Can tubular breasts be classified as a mild deformity?

    Yes, tubular breasts can be classified as a mild deformity if the shape and appearance of the breasts are only slightly affected. In mild cases, surgical correction may not be necessary, and non-surgical approaches may be recommended instead.



    About The Author

    Jennyfer F. Cocco, MD - Female Plastic Surgeon in Dallas, TX

    Jennyfer Faridy Cocco, MD

    Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

    Dr. Cocco is a Female Plastic Surgeon practicing in Dallas / Fort Worth since 2009. She is constantly refining her skills in cosmetic surgery by training with internationally renowned aesthetic surgeons through various traveling apprenticeships. Dr. Cocco also regularly attends seminars and conventions, both in the U.S. and Europe. She continues her education and stay up-to-date with the latest advances in the medical and cosmetic field.

    Dr Jennyfer F. Cocco, MD - Plastic Surgery in Dallas, TX

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