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Tuberous Breasts - To Fix or Not to Fix?

I’ve seen postings recently in a feminist forum about tuberous breasts, and whether one would be justified in having plastic surgery to improve them. The woman who initiated the discussion said she wanted to have the procedure, but felt bad about it. As a feminist, she said she felt “angry” that she was longing for surgery and even that she “wanted to die at the thought.”

If there ever were a condition that might drive a woman who thinks that “plastic surgery, on the whole, is ridiculous” to go under the knife, tuberous breasts would be a good candidate. Named for the fact that the breasts resemble tubers in shape, tuberous breasts (sometimes called “tubular breasts”) are formed when the base of the breast is smaller than usual. This constricted circumference causes the breast tissue to push forward and sometimes down, exacerbated by the fact that the inframammary fold (where the breast attaches to the chest wall) is often higher than normal.

Women with tuberous breasts usually have large areolas as well. When all these factors are present, it’s easy to see why one of the nicknames for this condition is “Snoopy breasts.” Although you may consider the famous Beagle adorable, you probably don’t want to have breasts that remind you of his nose.

In most cases, to create breasts that are more pleasing in appearance requires a bit more work than simply inserting implants. Plastic surgeons often need to make internal incisions to release constricting tissue and expand the base width of the breast. The breast pocket may need enlarging to accept an appropriate implant. Because women with tuberous breasts often have scant breast tissue, it’s often best to place implants below the chest muscle for a natural looking result. For this group of patients, silicone gel breast implants should be considered, as they tend to hold their shape well.

The feminist whose posting I read said that her tuberous breasts were “self esteem shattering” and that she always kept her bra on while having sex.

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.

Add a Comment120 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

I am 28 years old and have asymmetric tuberous breasts. Like many women posting here, I hated the way they looked and hid them behind padded bras. I'll never forget the time in my early twenties when I was making out with this guy and we progressed to my least favorite part: taking off my top. I remember him staring for a second at my bare chest, then he got up and put his clothes back on in the bathroom. I realize now he was just a superficial prick, but at the time I was ashamed and humiliated at his reaction to my breast shape. I decided to take action. No, it wasn't getting surgery, like I'd fantasized about for years. I decided to take up nude modeling. The art class at the local University offered $15 an hour for models. As a dancer, I knew I could get into somewhat difficult poses, and in my experience, challenging myself by doing something I didn't want to do made me more confident in the long run. At first it was gruesome being surrounded by all of my peers, showing off the most hated part of my body in full light. But the obligation to do a good job, and the repetition eventually made me comfortable with the whole thing. Six years later I'm happily married and still modeling nude, but just recently I started getting really self-conscious about my breasts again. I confided in another woman who said, "If they bother you so much, why don't you put the money together and get surgery? You'll feel so much better about yourself." Of course that made it worse. I started investigating fat grafting enhancement, staring at before and after surgical pictures, etc. My husband hates the idea and says he loves my breasts. He says they have two different personalities... the puffy one and the big one. They're extra-sensitive too, which I'm worried might change if I got surgery done. Although I have my doubts and low spells with my funny boobs, it's good to know that I'm not alone and it's been especially compelling to read others' stories. You know what? We're all just skin tubes. Some people got lucky with socially acceptable tubes, but we're just another variation. Thanks for the mammaries!

February 10, 2013 - 5:26pm
EmpowHER Guest

When I was very young, I had huge aureola and I thought, "Wow, I must be going to have some big boobs!" LOL. How wrong I was! I never understood why mine never grew, and why they were so strangely shaped...and worse, why they were so "ugly". And, I'm sorry, but that's the only way I can describe them. At least my own, anyway. And I have always kept them hidden.
When I had my baby, I was nagged at by the doctors to breastfeed, which I wanted to do, but had no milk. They told me that the reason I didn't have any milk was because I didn't try to breastfeed enough. Well, believe me, I tried. I could get out nothing more than few droplets, which really upset me since I know the value of breastfeeding. It wasn't until then that I researched the reasons for lack of milk production that I found out about tuberous breast deformity.
I will be honest. I am ashamed of my breasts. Luckily, they look "normal" on the top ; that is, when I have on a bra. But they are so disproportionately small! I'm 5'8" tall with a medium build, and a very, very flat chest.
Several years ago I got really excited when I had insurance, thinking I could get them "corrected", but was devastated when I found out the insurance company only covered surgery for ONE tuberous breast. If you had two, it was considered a cosmetic procedure. I could never quite figure that one out. For some of us, having this problem can be incredibly emotionally draining, and can really deplete your self-esteem.

I would love to get them "fixed", and for no one other than myself.

December 2, 2012 - 6:32pm

Hi anonymous, I wrote above under the name Paige. I think that they are considered a deformity because of their lack of mammary tissue and often the inability to produce breast milk, but I come from the same school of thought as you. I'm 22 and mine are both tuberous and asymmetrical, which is a bit harder to live with. Still, though, I refuse to get breast implants. Maybe some day when fat transfer is cheaper i'll have the smaller breast made to match the larger. Until then, though, I continue to work on learning to love myself. As a side note, my doctor has never mentioned mine either.

August 11, 2012 - 11:57pm
EmpowHER Guest

I have tubular breasts and am a 34B with "puffy nipples" i'm 29 and they are quite perky and while I have always sensed that they are a bit different, I have NEVER known them to be considered a "deformity" until today. I am so shocked that that word would even apply to my breast shape. This article is Plastic Surgery propaganda disguised as helpful/non-judgemental advice. What is a "normal" breast I wonder. We all know that most breasts are not symmetrical, have a range of sizes in terms of aureolas, nipples, some have Montgomery's tubercles and some do not. I think the word "deformed" is so unecessarily harsh. I saw a young lady with tuberous breasts on a Plastic Surgery forum asking what could be done for her and she had one of the prettiest pair of breasts I have seen in a while. Sure enough there were a bunch of "Doctors" telling her what was "wrong". But being a woman in this harsh world and having to read articles like this, the seed of doubt has now been planted in my head and I am left to wonder about how my breasts will come across to a potential suitor.
Are men encouraged to have their penises straightened if they curve a little? No. But breasts can come under such intense scrutiny... As for the "medical field" regarding it as a deformity. My Doctor never pointed it out to me so I'm wondering, is she unqualified or is this whole "deformity" talk just a ploy for Plastic surgeons to make more money off of people's insecurities?

August 11, 2012 - 11:49pm
EmpowHER Guest

Thank you so much for sharing your story! I wrote the original article, and as you can see it stirred up the @#$%! But that's a good thing, and having turned out over a hundred articles for EmpowHer (no longer writing now), I have to say it is the piece I am most pleased about because of the many reactions.

Anyway, what I wanted to say was how impressed I am with your decision making process. Your statement about good men is right on the money, and so are your observations for making the choice that's right for you. (I would be equally impressed if you decided not to have surgery, BTW.) What's important is to research, be as objective as you can, sleep on it, consider the impact of your condition on yourself--no one else--and make the choice that will make you feel best about your life.

I wish you all the happiness in the world!


August 8, 2012 - 10:24am
EmpowHER Guest

I know I'm a few months behind posting this but I would like to share my story with everyone else who has posted on here. I am a 18 year old female who discovered just a few months ago that I have tuberous breasts. From the time I began puberty I knew that my breasts weren't "normal". Even knowing that, throughout high school I always had a small glimmer of hope that they would grow. Well there I was turning 18 and I still looked exactly the way I did when I was 13! So I decided to do some research on my own and came across the words "insufficient mammery glands" which then led me to "tubular breast deformity". I remember just crying. Crying because I knew this is what I had and I would never be normal in my eyes.
Now I would like to respond to the actual question here "to fix or not to fix?". Let me just tell you all a little background info. Throughout high school I have had 2 serious relationships and several casual relationships as well. All of them included the guys I was with seeing my breasts. And let me tell you, not one guy ever once pointed out that I didn't look normal or that he was turned off by my breasts. That brings me to the relationship I'm in now. My current boyfriend and I have been together for 2 years now and of course he's seen my breasts. He was the first person I ever told about my tuberous breasts, to which he explained that yes he always knew they looked a little different but never once dd it bother him or turn him off.
Now let me also tell you how many countless nights I have cried myself to sleep because of my tuberous breasts. No one knows the emotional pain you endure until you live with them. You long to be normal. You envy every other woman who has "normal breasts". Having tuberous breasts can consume your life.
For all the above reasons I have decided that BA surgery would be the best route for me to go. I just want to make one thing clear, I AM DOING THIS FOR MYSELF. I want all you ladies to know something: a good man will love you the way you are! And if a man doesn't love you PLUS your tuberous breasts then he is no man you should want to be with. BA is a wonderful "fix" for women living with tuberous breasts. It's not for everyone, and that is 100% ok. But sometimes women have to do things for themselves and themselves only. In no way shape or form do I want huge DD's, I just want BREASTS. I would never even be even considering this if I didn't have this condition, but the thought of going through with it makes me feel so much better.
Lastly, I want to say THANK YOU for this article. It along with the comments have uplifted me, inspired me, and given me many different points of view on the subject. I feel so relieved knowing there are many more women living with the same exact thing as me. I hope you all have a wonderful day, and thanks again.

August 8, 2012 - 7:37am
dmegceo (reply to Anonymous)

How did you find a surgeon that was skilled in this type of surgery? Where do I look?

January 19, 2014 - 2:54pm
EmpowHER Guest

I'm pretty sure the topless actress in the episode of Game of Thrones I saw last night had tuberous breasts. I was happy to see some being flashed around :)

April 13, 2012 - 11:04pm
EmpowHER Guest

I am sorry to hear about your experience. It sounds to me as if the technique was faulty--with a great surgeon with experience, you should have had a better result. I'm wondering if the implant material (did you have saline?) and placement (probably should be under the muscle) could also be contributing to your sense that they don't feel good either. This is a reaction I haven't heard before.

Of all your options now, the best one might be to at least consult a great surgeon to see what he/she says. I bet your results can be improved if you want to give it a try.

April 13, 2012 - 10:02am
EmpowHER Guest

Great thread! I thought I would chip in as somebody with tuberous breasts who had surgery and now regrets it. Having been very unhealthily preoccupied with my boobs all my life (im now 32) and very much intent on surgical 'correction' i was very surprised by my reaction to the surgery. I had it done on the nhs last year and the surgeon said that he never lowers the crease which for those of you who've looked into surgery know is an important consideration and something i was v concerned about beforehand - I did not want to end up being the same shape only bigger. Not being able to afford it any other way and feeling that my life was slightly on hold i decided that an improvement was better even though i had concerns about the technique. Sure enough the torpedo look was in full effect after the surgery with the implant sitting very high. I was devastated. I went into shock and had a panic attack in the hospital when i first saw them. I know this is an extreme reaction but the overwhelming feeling I had was that i didn't realise how much i had liked myself beforehand. It felt like i had low self esteem emblazoned on my chest - and they didn't even look good! It felt very wrong and very uncongruent with having a healthy, positive relationship with your body. Of course i was aware that this could be shock from the surgery but i cried pretty much daily for 4 months afterwards. Although the shape is better now they still look unnatural and not a pleasing natural breast shape to me. I had no idea how horrible i would find the feeling of implants either - I only had 200cc and they feel huge to me and heavy. 1 year on I still feel v confused. I have looked into my options from here - including trying to love and accept myself as i am now - more 'corrective' surgery (to get the shape i would have preferred) would now involve a nipple lift and if the crease was lowered a big prominent scar on the breast or simply having the implants out and return to my natural self tho scared what they will look like now...Some people say they could be improved, rounded out.. The main positive that came out of the surgery for me was that it forced me to get over myself and move on from the issue - i was never going to get perfection. So bear in mind that if you do have surgery you are only making a trade, even if you do get the look you are after you will still have implants and scars to deal with, not to mention a ticking time bomb - hugs will feel very different.

April 13, 2012 - 1:00am
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