Tubular breast deformity is a common, congenital breast abnormality found in both women and men. In men, the treatment is straight forward (see the bottom of this article). In women, however, additional aesthetic norms come into play, making the repair more complex.
Tubular Breast Deformity in Women
Tubular breast deformity is known by many names:
- Tubular breast deformity
- Tuberous breast deformity
- Snoopy Nose or Snoopy’s Nose deformity
- Constricted breast deformity
Women with mild constriction often come to see me to simply increase the size of their breast, not aware of the diagnosis. Women with more severe deformity, however, are often reluctant to show their breasts to others, and want to improve the size and the shape of their breasts. Correcting these types of problems is more challenging, but at the same time, quite rewarding.
Tubular Breast Abnormality is a Congenital Breast Deformity
While present at birth, the full extent of the tubular breast deformity is often not appreciated until puberty. This is when the breasts normally develop, and the full extend of abnormalities are revealed. While women with tubular breasts have smaller than average sized breasts, not all small breasts are tubular breasts. While the extent to which the deformities manifest can vary widely, several specific abnormalities are present.
Signs and Presentation of Tubular Breast Abnormality
Besides smaller size, the main components of the tubular breast are a constricted base and a tubular shape to the breast. This can be exacerbated by herniation of the breast tissue into the areola, causing “puffy nipples”. Technically, the nipple is not affected, but the areola, the colored skin around the nipple, may project out from the breast mound. The overall effect is an elongated or tubular shape to the breast. The true tubular shape is most noticeable in more severe cases.
The colloquial name for tuberous breasts is the Snoopy Nose or Snoopy’s Nose deformity. Snoopy is Charlie Brown’s white beagle of Peanuts fame. Picture the front of Snoopy’s muzzle. If you are not familiar with Snoopy click the link above. His white face represents the breast mound, his black nose sits like a ball on the end, and represents the herniated breast tissue filling the areola.
Treatment of the Tuberous Breasts
As mentioned above, tubular breasts tend to not fully develop. Often patients with tubular breasts desire breast augmentation to increase the size of their breasts. For mild tubular breast deformity, a breast implant may be sufficient treatment. When the breasts are more tubular, additional maneuvers are necessary to provide an enhanced result.
If the areola is overly full, a periareolar lift can reduce the puffy nipples, and prevent the breast tissue from herniating. Unlike for men, the breast tissue is not usually removed, just pushed back into its normal anatomical position. The constricted base seen with tuberous breasts also tends to shorten the distance between the areola and the base of the breast. The lift has the additional benefit of moving the areola higher on the breast, helping to center the nipple on the breast mound.
Traditionally, tubular breast were treated with breast implants placed in front of the muscle. With a periareolar lift, it usually possible to place the implant behind the muscle. This gives a more natural appearing breast mound, and makes it easier to perform mammography in the future. While silicone and saline breast implants can both give good looking results, for smaller breast, a silicone gel implant may give a better feeling result. It is important to discuss the pro’s and con’s of each option with your Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.
Tubular Breast Deformity in Men
In men, tubular breast deformity presents as an overly full areola or “puffy nipples”. Since men like flat chests, tuberous breasts are easily treated in with resection of the excess tissue. The procedure is similar to that used for Gynecomastia. A small “smiley-face” incision is made from 4 to 8 o’clock around the lower edge of the areola, and the excess glandular tissue is removed. The procedure provides a smoother contour, and a quick recovery.
Information on Tubular Breasts
More information on tubular breasts is available on the breast abnormalities page of my specialty breast site under Congenital Abnormalities – Tuberous or Tubular Breasts, and the Snoopy Nose Deformity. Tubular Breast Augmentation Before and After Pictures are also available in my main web site. The best information, however, is only available in person. If you would like to schedule a consultation appointment in my Walnut Creek Cosmetic Surgery office, please give me a call at (925) 943-6353, or use the contact form in the column to the left.