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The Breasts

ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY

The female breast lies between the 2nd and the 6th ribs, between the edge of the sternum and midaxillary line. The nipple and the areola are exactly in the center but are somewhat lateral to the center of the breast. Sebaceous glands on the areola (glands of Montgomery) appear as small round elevations.

STRUCTURE

The breast is located in front of the chest, one on each side of the midline. The nipple lies just below the center of the breast. The skin surrounding the base of the nipple is darker than the complexion of the woman and is known as the areola. The glands situated in this region lubricate the nipple and areola during lactation and prevent them from cracking.

For better description, the breast is divided into four quadrants by horizontal and vertical lines crossing at the nipple. In addition a tail of breast tissue frequently extends toward or into the armpit (axillary tail).

Breast Quadrant

BREAST TISSUE HAS THREE PRINCIPAL COMPONENTS

  • The Glandular tissue is organized into 12 to 20 lobes, each of which terminates in a duct that opens on the surface of the nipple. Each milk-producing gland is drained by a small duct, which in turn drains into the main duct that receives milk from all other glands in that lobe. This main duct opens on the surface of the nipple. In between the lobes is present the fibrofatty tissue which gives the breast it’s characteristic contour.
  • The fibrous tissue, supporting the glandular tissue, in form of suspensory ligaments that connect both the skin and to fascia underlying the breast.
  • Fat is the predominant component and surrounds the breast.

Click here to see the components of Breast Tissue

The proportions of these components vary with age, the general state of nutrition, pregnancy, and other factors.

The male breast consists chiefly of a small nipple and areola.

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