Balancing Asymmetrical Breasts with Plastic Surgery

Published: October 28, 2021
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Category: Breast Asymmetry, Dr. Christine Stewart, Breast Augmentation, Plastic Surgery

Breasts are one of the most distinctly feminine and visible characteristics of a woman’s body. Although the size, shape, and positioning of breasts can vary greatly from woman to woman, a woman’s breasts generally match one another in appearance. Even though it is common for breasts to appear slightly different from each other, some women struggle with substantially asymmetrical breasts that differ significantly in volume, shape, and/or their positioning on the chest. In such cases, plastic surgery may provide the solution to restore balance to a woman’s proportions and boost her confidence.

breast asymmetry patient

Why do breasts become asymmetrical?

“Most women do not have perfectly symmetrical breasts,” says Dr. Christine Stewart, a board-certified plastic surgeon, and partner with Edina Plastic Surgery. “In fact, over half of all women may notice subtle differences between the size, volume, or position of their breasts from one to the other. These differences are usually congenital and manifest at the time of puberty. Other hormonal challenges, such as changing birth control, pregnancy, and menopause can cause changes in breast size and symmetry. Breast feeding can be another cause of asymmetry, one breast produces more milk than the other, or the baby seems to prefer one side over the other, for example. Breast tissue may change when a woman is ovulating and appear fuller, but this is due to water retention and blood flow, and breasts will return to their normal appearance once menstruation is complete.”

Breast asymmetry can be a result of asymmetry in the amount of breast tissue causing volume asymmetry, the amount of skin, causing asymmetry in the position of the nipple areolar complex, or even bony asymmetry of the chest wall causing one breast to project more than the other.  Scoliosis can also cause asymmetry of the of the rib cage and contribute to asymmetry in projection or differences in the distance from the nipple to the clavicle, which is another way our eye evaluates nipple symmetry. A woman’s “breast footprint” or where the breast lives on the chest, which is congenitally determined, usually also differs from right to left. This can manifest in differences in inframammary fold location, which affects how an implant settles after surgery or the height of each breast after a reduction or a lift. 

A condition called juvenile hypertrophy may also be the cause of asymmetrical breasts. Though the condition is rare, it can result in one breast growing dramatically more prominent than the other.  Another condition that we also want to rule out causing asymmetric breasts is a common benign tumor, such as a fibroadenoma. This is one of the reasons why your plastic surgeon will perform a manual breast exam at the time of your consultation.

breast asymmetry before and after

What issues may having asymmetrical breasts cause?

Medical concerns

If one of a woman’s breasts changes noticeably in a short period of time, it may indicate another medical condition. In this case, she should be evaluated by a physician immediately. In general, a woman has been aware of her asymmetry for quite so time, and there is no cause for concern. Even so, if a woman decides to undergo any breast enhancement surgery to correct her asymmetry, her plastic surgeon may request special blood work to rule out any underlying causes.

Aesthetic concerns

“Having asymmetrical breasts can make a woman feel extremely self-conscious, and she may find intimacy with her partner difficult as a result,” says Dr. Stewart. “It can also be challenging and frustrating to find bras and clothes that fit well due to unevenness in breast size and positioning. Many women end up wearing baggy clothes to hide their breasts and avoid swimsuits altogether. Correcting breast asymmetry with plastic surgery helps a woman feel comfortable and confident in her own skin again and have fun embracing ALL styles of clothing!”

breast symmetry

What plastic surgeries can help correct breast asymmetry?

“Restoring balance to asymmetrical breasts may require one or a combination of surgeries to achieve the best result,” advises Dr. Stewart. “During the consultation, your surgeon will evaluate your breasts and make recommendations based on the current size, positioning, and shape of each breast. The most important thing for a patient to understand is that we can improve the symmetry of the breasts, but that they will likely never be perfectly symmetric. As in the above example, we can see that the right chest wall is not as projecting as the left, the right nipple is also a little bit lateral to center of the right chest wall when compared to the left. These are asymmetries that will cannot be completely corrected by surgery. Each procedure will be entirely customized to meet the unique needs of each patient, and your surgeon will talk to you about what is correctable and what is uncorrectable asymmetry At Edina Plastic Surgery, we have the VECTRA-3D Imaging System which allows a patient to see their possible results from surgery involving implants, through a series of digital images.”

Breast Reduction Surgery (Mammoplasty)

When a woman has one breast that is significantly larger than the other but is happy with the appearance of the smaller breast, she may choose to reduce the size of the larger breast surgically. During Breast Reduction Surgery, breast tissues are removed and repositioned to create a smaller breast.  

Breast Lift (Mastopexy)

“If one of a woman’s breasts is lower than the other due to excess skin, Breast Lift Surgery can be performed to elevate that breast into a higher position on the chest wall to match the other breast,” explains Dr. Stewart. “During a Breast Lift, excess breast tissues are excised to improve firmness and lift the breast. The nipple will also be modified to bring it into better alignment with the opposite breast.”

Breast Augmentation with Implants

If a woman is pleased with the size and volume of a breast that is larger, she may wish to add an implant to the smaller breast with Breast Augmentation Surgery. In the majority of cases, adding a breast implant to one breast will fundamentally change the shape of the breast, and a smaller implant will be needed in the other side as well to create a cohesive look. Implants are comprised of either saline or silicone and are placed underneath the pectoral muscle.

Breast Augmentation with Fat Transfer

Autologous Fat Transfer is becoming an increasingly popular way for women to resolve asymmetrical breasts without the use of breast implants,” says Dr. Stewart. “Fat transfer is a two-part procedure that begins with harvesting fat from the abdomen or thighs with Liposuction. This fat is then mechanically purified and injected into the breasts to enhance their balance, fullness, and contour. This method is best for women who only have minor size differences between their breasts or want to address specific areas of volume deficiency.”

Combination Breast Surgery

Many women with asymmetrical breasts may benefit from having two or more breast surgeries performed to correct their imbalance. For example, if her breasts vary in size and position, a woman may opt to have a breast lift with an added implant to the smaller, lower breast or a breast lift with a breast reduction.  

“A combination of breast surgeries may be needed to secure the best result for women who are looking to correct their asymmetrical breasts,” advises Dr. Stewart. “These surgeries are customized to exactly what a woman needs and wants. Many women take the opportunity to focus on enhancing BOTH breasts to not only restore balance but also to achieve the appearance that she has always desired for her breasts!”

dr christine stewart

Schedule a complimentary consultation to discuss breast enhancement surgery with Dr. Christine Stewart or another board-certified plastic surgeon at Edina Plastic Surgery by calling (612) 688-3177 or CLICKING HERE.

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