Congenital Breast Deformity

Congenital breast deformities have a variety of presentations, but the common feature of all conditions is the anxiety, confusion and social embarrassment many young women feel when they develop two very asymmetric or unusual appearing breasts in puberty. This can cause psychological distress during school years, particularly around sports such as swimming and changing rooms, but also in summer climates such as ours where social events often include swimming pool and beach visits and camouflaging the asymmetries in clothing is particularly difficult. For some girls and women development of intimate relationships can be adversely affected due to self consciousness around the appearance of their breasts.

What causes Congenital Breast Deformities?

Congenital breast deformities are usually predetermined in utero, with abnormal development of the immature breast bud on the chest. Because breast tissue does not grow and develop until puberty the abnormality is often not evident until the usual time of breast development when the breasts fail to develop in a normal shape and/or size. It not usually possible to explain why the developmental problem has occurred.

Some chest injuries, burns, surgeries or other treatments to the chest area in childhood such as radiotherapy can also impact on breast bud development and subsequent breast growth. This can result in major breast asymmetry or failure of normal development and require similar procedures to correct them as those resulting from congenital breast deformities.

Will Medicare/Health Funds recognise Congenital Breast Deformities?

Correction of Congenital Breast Deformities is usually considered reconstructive surgery rather than cosmetic surgery and as such Medicare and Heath Fund rebates may apply. The value of the rebates varies between funds and it would be rare for the entire cost of surgery to be covered. Dr O’Mahony’s office nurse will supply a detailed quote for surgery following your consultation and examination. In order to claim rebates for some conditions Dr O’Mahony may need to seek pre approval from Medicare for you before surgery can proceed.This can take up to 8 weeks.

What is the best timing for surgery?

The timing of correction for congenital or acquired breast deformities depends on the individual. Ideally surgery undertaken at completion of breast growth allows for fewer procedures on the breast, however Dr O’Mahony is very aware that significant asymmetries may need correction during puberty, when the asymmetries become to hard to manage before growth is completed. A final procedure may then need to be undertaken at the completion of growth. Dr O’Mahony will work with you to plan the best approach for your individual circumstances. In some situations Dr O’Mahony will ask you to visit a psychologist to help you prior to the surgery. This can be very helpful to assist you working through the changes to your body that breast surgery brings. For some procedures assessment by a psychologist is mandated by the Medical Board (AHPRA) if you are under 18 years of age.

Please follow the links below to read more about some of the more common types of congenital or acquired breast deformity. This list is not exclusive and congenital breast conditions come in many shapes and sizes. If you would like to consult with Dr O’Mahony about your particular breast concerns please contact her.