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A Strange Breast Augmentation Complication: Symmastia

By Cathy Enns
 
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One of the oddest breast augmentation complications is symmastia, meaning literally, “one breast.” Referred to by patients as “unibreast” and “uniboob,” symmastia is also, thankfully, a very rare complication of breast augmentation. Nevertheless, if you’re considering breast implant surgery, you’ll want to know about all the possible poor outcomes including this one. Full knowledge helps in making the right decisions with your plastic surgeon.

What is it?

If you search the Web for the term, “symmastia,” (sometimes “synmastia”) you’ll find photos of what the condition looks like: implants that meet in the middle of the cleavage. Cases vary from slight to severe. In slight cases the implants barely touch across the cleavage; some call this “kissing implants.” In other patients, there’s not much valley between the breasts at all. These women are unlucky enough to look like they have a loaf of bread with rounded ends across their chest, giving rise to another nickname for the condition: “breadloafing.”

When Does It Happen?

Symmastia occurs when the skin and tissue in between the breast implants, in the cleavage, pulls up and off the breastbone (sternum), allowing the implants to move together. Sometimes the condition is noticeable soon after surgery. In other cases, symmastia shows up later. It can and often does worsen with time.

Patients who are worried that symmastia is starting to occur after surgery should see their doctor right away. The condition is best treated sooner rather than later.

Why Does It Happen?

Positioning and creating the breast implant pocket is one of the most critical steps in successful breast enlargement surgery. In many cases, the plastic surgeon simply over-dissects the pocket, creeping closer to the center of the chest than advisable. Sometimes the doctor is trying to create the dramatic cleavage the patient has requested, in other cases it can be just a mistake of cutting too far.

Occasionally a patient will contribute to the condition by being careless during her recovery. Women should handle their breasts gently after surgery, avoiding vigorous massage and push-up bras for a time.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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