Tubular breast deformity is a congenital defect that prevents the breasts from fully developing during puberty. Tuberous breasts are often underdeveloped with enlarged or unusually shaped nipples. They commonly have a cone-shaped or box-shaped appearance with one breast looking visibly smaller than the other.
Breast cosmetic surgery is the only way to treat tuberous breast deformity and constricted breasts or enlarged nipples. It can be performed without implants if there is enough natural breast tissue. Otherwise, tuberous breast reconstruction is performed with implants to increase the volume of the breast. Medicare and your Private Health Fund may provide a subsidy towards Tuberous Breast Correction if you meet the strict criteria.
For less severe cases of breast deformity, fat grafting may be enough to sculpt the breasts and give them the desired shape. Moreover, a more advanced hybrid breast augmentation mammoplasty surgery can combine both implants and fat grafts to alter the shape of conical breasts. Dr Jeremy Hunt performs tuberous breast surgery in Australia.
What Are Tubular Breasts?
Tuberous breasts, also known as tubular breasts or hypoplastic breasts, are underdeveloped breasts that have irregular appearances. Instead of having the usual round or a pear shape, tubular breasts may be:
Tubular breast deformity can be apparent in one or both breasts and is also known as:
- Herniated areolar complex
- Domed nipple
- Narrow-based breasts
Although tubular breasts come in different shapes and sizes, they have common characteristics that include:
- A constricted breast base
- A constrictive band in the area around the nipple (areola)
- Lack of sufficient breast tissue in the vertical and/or horizontal direction
- They may have a herniated nipple-areolar complex and an enlarged areola
Tuberous breast deformity is more common than we think – a lot of women who have cone-shaped breasts don’t seek treatment because they might not realise that there’s something that can be done to fix them.
Guide to Breast Surgery
Standard Breast Surgery
What are the Characteristics of Tuberous Breasts?
Tubular breast deformity doesn’t cause any health problems or concerns. However, it might be more difficult for you to breastfeed if you have hypoplastic breasts.
Experienced Plastic Surgeons like Dr Jeremy Hunt can tell if your breasts are tuberous based on their appearance. Tubular breasts often have the following features:
- Underdeveloped breasts
- Enlarged areolas
- The area around the nipple (areola) may appear constricted
- A large gap between the two breasts (widely spaced breasts)
- Breasts with an oval, pointed, conical, or square shape instead of a round shape
- Lack of symmetry (one breast will appear different from or larger than the other breast)
Different Types of Tubular Breast Deformity
- Type I hypoplasia: a Grade I tuberous breast looks relatively small and lacks tissue in the lower pole of the breast making it look short
- Type II hypoplasia: in Grade II tuberous breasts, the lower half of the breast looks constricted and the areola is stretched with the nipple pointing downward
- Type III hypoplasia: this is a more severe form of tuberous breast deformity where the entire breast is affected and lacks tissue. The areola is stretched or weakened and breast tissue herniates through it
- Type IV hypoplasia: this is the most severe form of tubular breast deformity. Grade IV hypoplastic breasts have extreme constriction and minimal breast tissue
What Causes Tubular Breasts?
Tubular breasts are a congenital deformity (birth defect) that occurs during breast tissue formation. The breasts don’t grow into their full size during puberty.
The exact cause of tuberous breast deformity is still unknown but several theories have been proposed. Scientists believe that tuberous breasts may occur when:
- The superficial tissue enveloping the breast is abnormally attached to the underlying breast tissue and chest muscle layer. This attachment restricts the normal expansion of the breast forcing it to expand in one direction (forward) and leading to the enlargement of the areola
- During breast development, a tight ring of fibrous tissue forms around the areola and constricts the growth of the breast. As a result, breast tissue is not allowed to develop normally leading to horizontal and/or vertical breast tissue deficiency. Eventually, breast growth in the presence of this constricting ring causes a herniated areola
Photos of Tuberous Breast Correction by Dr Jeremy Hunt – Sydney Plastic Surgeon
The outcomes shown are only relevant for this patient and do not necessarily reflect the results other patients may experience, as results may vary due to many factors including the individual’s genetics, diet and exercise.
Tuberous Breast Correction
The only treatment for tuberous breasts is cosmetic plastic surgery. Since regular breast augmentation mammoplasty surgery cannot fully correct the appearance of tubular breasts, Dr Jeremy Hunt uses different reconstructive and surgical techniques. Depending on the shape of your breasts, the amount of natural breast tissue you have, and how severe your breast deformity is, Dr Hunt may perform one of the following procedures.
Tubular Breast Correction Without Implants
Women with a less severe form of tuberous breast deformity and enough natural breast tissue can have their tuberous breasts treated surgically without implants. This is done with what is known as a one-step tubular breast correction surgery.
During one-step tuberous breast surgery, Dr Hunt will perform the following:
- Release the constricted tissue around the base of the breast
- Release the constrictive band around the areola
- Evenly redistribute your breast tissue
- Lift the breast and reposition the nipple
- Reduce the size of the enlarged areolas
Tubular Breast Correction with Implants (Augmentation Mammoplasty)
In case you have a more severe type of hypoplastic breast deformity, Dr Hunt will perform two separate procedures.
A two-step tuberous breast correction surgery involves the following:
- During the first breast surgery, Dr Hunt will release the constrictive tissue around the nipples or base of the breast. He will then insert tissue expanders into your breasts
- Over the next few weeks or months, the breast tissue expanders will be gradually inflated to stretch your breast skin and the muscles of your chest, creating room for future breast implants
- Once the breasts are sufficiently stretched, Dr Hunt will perform a second surgery where the expanders are replaced with permanent breast implants
- After the breast implants are placed, your breast tissue will be uniformly redistributed over the implant to fill in the areas of your breast that lack tissue
- Following this, Dr Hunt will reshape your breast and nipples
This two-step breast reconstruction procedure can address breast asymmetry, alter your cleavage, add volume to your breasts, and bring breasts that are too far apart closer together.
Tuberous Breast Correction with Fat Grafting
Fat grafting is a less invasive procedure that can improve the shape of tuberous breasts without surgery. This procedure can work for patients with less severe tubular breast deformities who do not lack too much breast tissue.
During fat grafting procedure for the correction of tuberous breasts:
- Dr Hunt will use liposuction to remove fat from your hips, thighs, or belly
- Then, he will strategically inject the harvested fat into different areas of your breast
- The injected fat will help loosen up the constricted breast tissue and fill in areas of the breast with little breast tissue
Tuberous Breast Correction with Composite Breast Augmentation Mammoplasty (Implants + your own Fat)
Another option to treat a tuberous breast appearance is composite or hybrid breast augmentation mammoplasty surgery also known as lipo-implant. During this hybrid surgery, Dr Hunt uses both implants and fat grafting.
This type of cosmetic surgery isn’t just about making your breasts look different. It’s more complex than regular breast augmentation mammoplasty surgery because it involves full breast surgery to address an anatomical deformity.
Dr Jeremy Hunt has experience in breast surgery and extensive knowledge of breast anatomy. He combines both his surgical skills with his anatomical knowledge to fully reconstruct the breasts.
FAQs about Tuberous Breasts
Are tuberous breasts small?
- Although they come in various shapes and sizes, most tuberous breasts do look smaller. You can usually tell if you have tubular breasts if there’s a large gap between your breasts, your nipples appear collapsed or constricted, and your breasts have an underdeveloped appearance.
Can tubular breasts be large?
- Tubular breasts come in different shapes and sizes and may be small or large. All tuberous breasts share common characteristics such as an irregular breast shape, constricted breast tissue, and underdeveloped breast tissue. However, even though a tuberous breast will look smaller than the other normal breast, it can still be large in some cases.
Is tubular breast deformity rare?
- Tubular breast deformity is not very common, but at the same time, it cannot be considered rare. Doctors believe that the low number of reported tubular breast cases is because a lot of women who have this deformity do not seek treatment for it.
Can you breastfeed with hypoplastic breasts?
- It is possible to breastfeed with tubular breasts although it may be challenging. If only one of your breasts is hypoplastic, you will likely still be able to breastfeed with your other normal breast. Even if both of your breasts have some degree of tubular deformity, you might be able to breastfeed if you have enough developed breast tissue. However, the more severe the tuberous breast deformity, the chances of having enough natural breast tissue to produce enough milk for your baby are lower.
What do tubular breasts feel like?
- Tubular breasts can be defined more by how they look than by how they feel. They usually have a cone-like shape and enlarged areolas. Nevertheless, the fibrous constrictive ring of tissue at the base of the breast or around the areola can feel dense to the touch. (this constrictive ring is released during corrective surgery)
How can I make my tubular breasts look normal?
- Currently, the only treatment for tubular breasts is cosmetic surgery. Tubular breast reconstruction surgery can be done with or without implants (augmentation mammoplasty). For less severe cases of tuberous breast deformity, fat grafting into the tubular breast can help give it a fuller and rounder shape. A composite breast augmentation mammoplasty surgery that includes both implants and fat grafting can address the shape of breasts with more severe tubular breast deformity.
Further Reading about Breast Surgery
- Read Dr Hunt’s Breast Augmentation Mammoplasty with Implants Surgery page
- Read Dr Hunt’s blog about Recovery and Exercising after Breast Implants
- Read Dr Hunt’s blog about How to Avoid Breast Surgery Complications
- Read Dr Hunt’s Breast Procedures page
- See Dr Hunt’s Real Patient Breast Augmentation Mammoplasty with Implants Before and After Photos
Medical References about Tuberous Breasts
- The tuberous breast deformity: classification and treatment
- Tuberous breast deformity: A modified technique for single-stage correction – PMC
- Surgical Treatment of Tubular Breast Type II – PMC
- Fat Grafting Technique, A Paradigm Shift in the Treatment of Tuberous Breast – PMC
- Composite breast augmentation mammoplasty: soft-tissue planning using implants and fat
About Dr Jeremy Hunt – Specialist Plastic Surgeon Sydney
Careful, considerate and honest, Dr Jeremy Hunt works with you to find a solution that is suitable for your body and your lifestyle. Every patient is unique and requires a personalised approach to reach their goals.
Dr Hunt has provided his one-on-one service and attention to detail to thousands of women and men from the Sydney & Wollongong NSW area and across Australia.
Dr Hunt’s qualifications and education
Dr Jeremy A. Hunt MBBS FRACS graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine degree from Sydney University in 1990 and is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and member of ASPS – the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons. He completed a Fellowship at the University of Texas in the United States, where he learnt from well-established and experienced plastic surgeons.
Next Step – Make an Enquiry or Request a consultation with Dr Hunt
Want more information before scheduling your consultation?
- Find out more about pricing, medical payment plans and paying for your surgery
- Request more information about the procedure – call on 1300 157 200 or contact us
If breast reduction mammoplasty is something you’re considering, Dr Hunt can thoroughly explain all the options to you in a one-on-one consultation.
- Make an Enquiry or Request a consultation with Dr Hunt
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health professional.