Women are often so embarrassed about their private parts that even when they think something is seriously wrong, they do not discuss it with their parents, family members, or doctors. One of such problems is asymmetrical or unevenly shaped breasts. Most women just live with it (sometimes suffering from low self esteem that may spill over into their personal life and affect their ability to have a normal relationship with men) but they don’t have to, according to plastic surgeon Ann Reily.
“What we are talking about are very obvious problems with breast growth or development, not the normal asymmetry that everyone has. This condition is not uncommon, but it can feel very devastating. A teen or young woman with severely asymmetric breasts is likely to be profoundly self-conscious. For such a young woman, surgical intervention can be life changing. This not about getting Baywatch breasts. It is about buying a bra or a prom dress without it being an issue,” she says.
This asymmetry may occur because of problems with growth and development or through acquired conditions, such as trauma from tumors, infection, or burns. Asymmetry can take several forms including total absence of the breast, variations in size, and variations in shape on one or both sides of the body. In the majority of patients, the exact cause is unknown.
With standard procedures we can successfully treat teens whose breast developed abnormally as well as those who have changes following breastfeeding or trauma. For women who wish to have children, there are procedures which will preserve their ability to breastfeed, says Dr. Foad Nahai. It is possible that surgery must be performed on both breasts, not just one. If similar procedures are performed on both breasts, the likelihood of symmetry is greatly increased.
What is the best time for surgery?
Although many physicians advise waiting until breast growth is fully complete, earlier intervention may be appropriate in some cases, particularly in teens in whom asymmetry is very noticeable, or in those who become depressed or socially withdrawn because of their condition. As with any patient, the young woman should appreciate the benefits and limitations of the proposed surgery, and have realistic expectations.