“Third breast”: where does another mammary gland come from in women (and men) and what does it mean

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What is the main danger?

Each person has two glands located on the chest. In most cases, there is only one accessory gland, but there have been cases where several accessory glands or several nipple-areolar complexes (polythelia) have been observed.

They are localized most often under or above the chest, in the armpit area, on the neck, in the groin area or on the back. Signs of this pathology are noticeable from birth, and during puberty, the development of additional glands occurs. The latter can be fully formed or remain defective. It is not uncommon for there to be only extra nipples and areolas.

Of course, this pathology gives women both psychological and physical discomfort, because in addition to an aesthetic defect, additional glands in the premenstrual period or during pregnancy can swell and hurt. If the additional mammary glands are fully developed, then in the postpartum period they can secrete milk. Such glands are also susceptible to oncological diseases, both benign and malignant. It is the high risk of developing oncopathology that is one of the reasons why oncologists strongly recommend removing additional mammary glands.

Where does what come from? The reasons for the development of polymastia are still not fully understood, in most cases it is a genetically determined process.

Can’t do without surgery

The only way to get rid of the extra breast is surgery. The operation is performed for both women and men over 18 years of age, earlier removal of additional lobules is not recommended (in some individual cases, with certain localizations of additional lobules or nipples, surgery may be performed before the age of 18).

There are several approaches to removing extra glands, depending on the specific situation. The most common is a mastectomy, when an additional lobule is removed completely (axillary lymph nodes can also be removed if the lobule has axillary localization).

The method of reduction mammoplasty is suitable if the additional lobule lies in the projection of the normal breast, in which case the additional lobule is resected as a single “block” within the normal breast tissue.

Liposuction is suitable if the extra gland is poorly developed, there is no extra nipple and areola. Most often, such a gland consists mainly of adipose tissue and for correction it will be enough to perform liposuction (vacuum, tumescent, water jet or ultrasound).

Histology and shape correction

After the operation, the resulting tissue is sent for histological examination, where the material is carefully examined for the presence of oncopathology.

We add that the removal of additional mammary glands does not affect the hormonal background of a woman. In some cases, when an additional gland is localized in the region of a normal gland, additional operations are required to correct the shape and volume of the normal gland (autoadipotransplantation, implant placement, etc.).

Photo: Pexels.com

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