[By Nicole Lim]
How many of us have stood in front of the mirror in a tight tube top, lamenting the extra flesh that is spilling over our underarm region. Sounds familiar? It seems that there is a possibility that you may not be just chubby around your under arm regions but having what doctors term “axillary breasts”.
“These axillary breasts also known as polymastia are actually extra or redundant breast tissue! This abnormal breast tissue is usually present along the milk line above or below the normal breast position. Occasionally, extra breasts may appear with or with nipples or areolae!” explains Dr Tan Ying Chien, consultant plastic surgeon at the Sloane Clinic Plastic Surgery Centre that sees a few cases of this condition a month.
How common is this?
Accessory axillary breast tissue affects approximately 2% to 6% of women. Even men can be afflicted with 1% of men presenting palpable thickenings in the axilla. The incidence of axillary breasts is higher in Asian women than in black or white women.
Should we seek treatment?
Apart from its cosmetic implications, axillary breasts can cause tenderness and swelling. In some cases, patients have reported difficulty with shoulder movement and irritation from clothing. These symptoms may be aggravated and become more noticeable especially during puberty and pregnancy. As they tend to be unsightly, most women complain that they are unable to wear sleeveless tops.
What type of treatment is necessary?
Sadly, there is no magic cream that will shrink this extra breast tissue to oblivion. Surgical excision is an option for patients with persistent symptoms, or those who desire excision for cosmetic purposes.
Thankfully, modern liposuction technology allows this excess breast tissue to be safely and effectively removed via small, inconspicuous incisions. It can even be done under local anaesthesia, with minimal downtime.
Dr Tan Ying Chien is a fully accredited plastic surgeon at The Sloane Clinic Plastic Surgery Centre. For More information, please visit www.sloaneclinic.com .