Factors Behind Breast Asymmetry and Corrective Options

It's normal for women to have breast asymmetry. In fact, one in four adult women has some degree of asymmetric or uneven breasts. That's because two sides of one's body may be slightly different. 

Osaka University researchers used imaging technology to discover that internal organs develop asymmetrically. Another possible factor is that one side is strengthened more than the other. For instance, right-handed people have a stronger and more coordinated right hand and arm compared to their left side.

In some instances, the overproduction of cells can contribute to having a dominant and non-dominant side of the body. Such is the case of those with hemihyperplasia, a rare condition where one side of the body grows larger than the other. 

What Causes Breast Asymmetry

The common causes of breast asymmetry include:

  • Hormonal sensitivity

During puberty, one of your breasts may be larger than the other. It's possible that breast tissue cells on one breast are more sensitive to estrogen than the other, causing that breast to grow larger or faster. However, both breasts typically become more or less the same size by the time you're 16 or older. 

  • Genetics 

Breast asymmetry can also be inherited. You're likely to have uneven breasts if your mother or grandmother also do.

  • Hypoplastic breasts

Hypoplastic or underdeveloped breasts can be due to a hormonal change, injury to the breasts, or infection such as mononucleosis. Mammary hypoplasia will result in low milk production after childbirth.

  • Juvenile hypertrophy

The opposite of hypoplasia, hypertrophy is the extreme development of one breast. Doctors believe it could be due to hormonal sensitivity.

  • Pregnancy 

Breasts can change in size or shape as the body undergoes hormonal changes in preparation for breastfeeding. Meanwhile, a baby's preference for one breast over the other may cause that breast to swell or stretch.

  • Scoliosis or rib abnormalities

A curved spine can rotate the torso, causing one breast to appear larger than the other even if they're actually the same size. A deformity or fracture in the rib cage may change the shape of the chest wall, leading to uneven breasts.

  • Surgery 

Common treatments for breast cancer, such as the removal of the entire breast (mastectomy) or part of the breast tissue (lumpectomy) also alter breast size.

  • Infection or breast mass

Bacterial infection can lead to the development of a breast abscess that can enlarge the affected breast. Atypical ductal hyperplasia or the excessive growth of your milk ducts can cause benign (non-cancerous) lumps to form, changing your breast's shape. 

What Can You Do About Uneven Breasts

Breast asymmetry can make it hard to find well-fitting bras that will enhance the way your clothes land on and hug your body.

Unless one of your breasts feels painful or you suspect that you're at risk of breast cancer, you can consider corrective procedures to make your breasts look more symmetric. 

It's best to consult a board-certified surgeon before going through any treatment. However, here's a preview of the options that you can explore:

Breast lift

Also referred to as mastopexy, a breast lift is recommended for droopy or flat breasts brought about by nursing or aging. The procedure involves tightening the tissue around the breast. The surgeon lifts the breast to a higher point on the chest after removing the extra skin that has caused it to sag. The procedure results in an uplifted and rounder breast profile. It also results in smaller and higher areolas (pigmented tissue around the nipple).

Compared to breast reduction, your cup size will remain approximately the same after the operation as no breast tissue is taken away.

Breast reduction 

Breast reduction (reduction mammoplasty) is almost the same as a breast lift except that the former involves removing breast tissues, fat, and skin to reduce a breast's size.

Breast augmentation

You may also opt for full augmentation surgery if one of your breasts is over a cup size over the other. Implants are placed on your breasts to even them out. If you wish to augment both breasts, the implant sizes will be unique to each breast to achieve a symmetrical result.

What to Expect During and After a Breast Lift

Before your breast lift, the surgeon will mark the position where your nipple will go before you get anesthesia. The procedure may take one to three and a half hours, including the application of anesthesia.

After the surgery, you'll have to wear a special support bra or an elastic bandage over your breasts with gauze dressings. You also need to sleep on your back for several weeks. Your doctor will prescribe medications to reduce post-mastopexy pain, and it will be advisable to be off from work for either a few days or a week or two. 

You may be able to move comfortably after several days but your doctor may advise you to avoid bending, lifting, and doing sports or vigorous activities for about six weeks. Swelling should subside after several weeks while the scars should be less noticeable after a year.

Get the Latest in Breast Lift Technology with Palmer 

If uneven breasts are bothering you, book a consultation with Palmer Cosmetic Surgery to determine if you're a good candidate for mastopexy. Dr. Russel Palmer's clinic uses the most modern techniques to enhance your breast profile. Contact us today for more information.