Breast Asymmetry

Symmetry is considered one of the essential elements of beauty. Scientific studies of the subject have shown that people respond positively to symmetry of the face and body. Although perfect symmetry is not the norm or the goal, and minor asymmetry is well tolerated or even deemed beautiful, significant variations from the norm may have undesirable consequences. Unfortunately, breast asymmetry is common, and often rises to the level of aesthetic detriment. Fortunately, though, breast asymmetry can be managed using a variety of plastic surgery techniques.

Breast asymmetry, in which one breast is larger or differently shaped than the other, affects both men and women. It is the result of many different possible causes, including:

  • Congenital breast asymmetry, or breast asymmetry from birth and/or developmental processes, including asymmetrical virginal hypertrophy, in which a young woman has excessive sudden growth of one breast, and may require corrective surgery before the age of 18
  • Uneven Gynecomastia in men
  • Degenerative breast asymmetry in which both breasts are initially the same size, but one breast shrinks as a result of a localized disease or condition
  • Acquired breast asymmetry as a result of
    • Mastitis (breast infection)
    • Uneven development during or atrophy after pregnancy/breastfeeding
    • Weight fluctuations resulting in uneven deposition or removal of fat in breasts
    • Exercise-related changes in breast size or shape
  • Surgery for mastitis or other conditions including mastectomy of one breast as a result of cancer diagnosis
  • Aging in which breasts respond to age differently

Breast asymmetry can be corrected using breast reduction on the larger breast, breast augmentation on the smaller breast, or a combination of both to produce breasts that are more similar in size and shape. A breast lift can be done to correct sagging in either breast. Other breast deformities can be corrected at the same time, including tuberous breasts and inverted nipple, and large nipples can be corrected using nipple reduction. Many individuals request correction of asymmetrically enlarged areolae. No matter what the causes of breast asymmetry, breast surgery options are available for treatment.

Correction of asymmetry does not reduce the risk of cancer. Women with breast asymmetry are encouraged to undergo regular cancer screenings. If breast augmentation is part of the corrective procedure for breast asymmetry, submuscular breast implant placement can increase the effectiveness of screening post-surgery.