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How Do Accessory Breast Tissues Affect Pregnant And Postpartum Mums?

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How Do Accessory Breast Tissues Affect Pregnant And Postpartum Mums?

Pregnancy is a journey marked by a myriad of changes that extend far beyond a growing belly.

From the first trimester to the post-pregnancy phase, the body’s story is written in kilos gained, a fascinating dance of hormones, and even lumps in unexpected places, which could present themselves in the form of “accessory breasts”.

Unsure what accessory breasts tissues are and how they may affect your pregnancy journey? Read on to find out.

Bodily changes you may experience during and post-pregnancy

First Trimester

The first trimester sets the stage with a weight gain of one or two kilograms, though morning sickness might be calling the shots. Most of this added weight becomes guests in the placenta, breasts, uterus, and even extra blood. Your breasts will feel tender and become larger too, hinting at the transformative journey ahead.

Second Trimester

Moving to the second trimester, prepare for a weight gain of around six kilograms. Your hair might adopt a luscious volume while your fingernails put on a display of strength. On the flip side, your nails could also be breaking more easily. It’s a chapter of contrasts, where every change adds to the narrative.

Third Trimester

The third trimester, the grand finale, brings in another addition of about five kilograms. The main star is your baby, but the supporting cast includes amniotic fluid, the placenta, blood, your uterus, and – the surprise guest – lumps in your armpits. Don’t worry; these are not troublemakers – they’re like backstage crew members preparing for the milk production.

These lumps can become tender and swollen, but rest assured, they’ll make their exit once their role is played out. If you notice lumps in both armpits, they could be the result of extensions of breast tissue – something to keep in mind as your journey progresses.

As the story shifts to the post-pregnancy phase, the body’s changes continue to amaze. Breastfeeding introduces a new twist – occasional lumps on one or both breasts, but don’t fret; these lumps have their reasons.

The treatment varies based on the cause, but an unexpected twist is the presence of enlarged milk ducts in the armpit. It might sound odd, but it’s completely natural.

Anatomical position of axillary and clavicular lymph nodes
Tail of spence

Enter the “Tail of Spence,” a structure that extends beyond the breast into the armpit. Connected to the main milk-producing tissues, it can sometimes become engorged, presenting a unique challenge. This type of engorgement often occurs early in breastfeeding, while your milk supply is finding its rhythm.

What’s the difference between accessory breast tissue and armpit fat?

We’ve all had those moments when we notice a bit of extra fullness around the chest and underarms, but how do we determine if it’s just armpit fat or something more concerning?

What is armpit fat?

Whether you’re lean or curvy, having armpit fat is more common than you might think. People of any gender can experience it, although it tends to be more prevalent among women.

The origins of armpit fat are rooted in a mix of factors, many of which are beyond our control.

Genetics, for instance, has a significant say in where our bodies store fat. Research has highlighted that numerous genetic factors influence fat storage patterns, with even greater impact on women than men. So, if your family tree features armpit fat, you might be genetically predisposed to it too.

Weight can also be a player in this game. If you’re carrying extra pounds, some of that fat might find its way to your underarm area. Extra fat gain can make both your breast and armpit region appear larger.

What are “axillary accessory breasts”?

Fluctuations in hormones can lead to breast swelling, which can, in turn, create the appearance of excess bulge between the breast and underarm.

But sometimes, what you might think is armpit fat could actually be something different – a condition called “axillary accessory breast”. In other words, it’s extra breast tissue that’s hanging out where it’s not expected.

Up to 6% of the population is believed to have accessory breast tissue, although it’s often misdiagnosed. It could be confused with lipoma, a benign tumour made of fat cells.

While it’s more frequently reported among women, men aren’t entirely immune to this quirk of biology. There have been instances of men having accessory breast tissue, often involving extra nipples. These supernumerary breast tissues usually pop up along what’s known as the embryonic mammary or “milk line,” stretching from the armpit down to the groin.

The most common hangout spot for accessory breast tissue? You guessed it – the armpit, also known as “axillary accessory breasts”.

What’s intriguing is that many individuals might not even be aware of this extra tissue until it reacts to hormonal shifts triggered by menstruation, pregnancy, or lactation.

As these hormonal waves hit, the additional tissue can get larger and tender, mimicking the changes seen in normal breast tissue. What’s more, this accessory breast tissue can participate in lactation.

How breast volume fluctuates during and after pregnancy

How breast volume fluctuates during and after pregnancy

Following pregnancy, your body undergoes various changes, and while certain shifts are anticipated, one alteration that can catch many new mothers off guard is the transformation of their breasts.

During pregnancy, your body prepares for breastfeeding by developing milk ducts and filling them. This process results in an increase in breast size.

While breastfeeding, the breasts maintain their fullness. However, when nursing concludes, milk production decreases, leading to a reduction in the size of milk-producing cells.

Simultaneously, new fat cells emerge. The catch is that this new fat might not recreate the same pre-pregnancy breast size and shape you were accustomed to. It’s not about actually losing volume; it’s about the way they present themselves – seemingly empty and deflated.

This can be attributed to sagging. The rapid expansion of breast tissue during pregnancy can stretch the skin, leaving it vulnerable. As the milk-producing cells downsize, your breast tissue struggles to regain its original tautness and firmness. It’s like a deflated balloon that can’t quite reinflate.

This process might start as subtle changes, but over time, that sag can become more noticeable. Your breasts, once perky and proud, begin to take on a droopy demeanour. It’s not a quick fix either – this transformation can be a gradual one, sneaking up on you over months and years.

As if being a new mum wasn’t enough of a challenge, dealing with these unexpected changes can add an extra layer of complexity.

How to address “axillary accessory breasts”

How to address “axillary accessory breasts”

If you’ve identified axillary accessory breast tissue on yourself and find its appearance bothersome, know that you’re not alone.

This additional tissue can create a lumpy and prominent aspect, especially when your arms are at your sides. The tissue itself tends to be thicker and more noticeable, and you might even feel it under your skin.

Sensitivity and swelling, akin to what you experience with your primary breasts, can occur during menstrual cycles and pregnancy, further complicating matters. Weight gain can also exacerbate the issue.

Axillary accessory breast tissue removal

Thankfully, the removal of axillary accessory breast tissue is a safe and effective surgical procedure.

Dr Ivan Puah, medical director of Amaris B. Clinic, who has been treating this medical condition for over a decade, shares, “Axillary accessory breast and armpit fat are common concerns for women. Depending on the clinical condition of the individual, I’ll carry out glandular excision together with liposuction to achieve a flatter and more aesthetically pleasing appearance in the underarm region.”

A skilled practitioner, who possesses a discerning eye for aesthetics, like Dr Puah, can merge scientific expertise with artistic vision, offering you realistic expectations.

Dr Puah boasts over 15 years of experience in liposuction procedures and played a role in introducing laserlipolysis and Vaser liposuction to Singapore. His aesthetic sensibility and meticulous approach are well-known in the field.

Effective communication between doctor and patient is paramount, and Dr Puah’s professionalism, approachability, and trustworthiness have assuaged many patient concerns.

At Amaris B. Clinic, the post-surgery care programme plays a pivotal role in ensuring swift recovery and optimal outcomes. Tailored to your needs, this program encompasses various elements such as MLD Therapy and skin firming treatments, all aimed at facilitating the healing process.

Restoring breast volume after pregnancy

Amaris B. Clinic offers the ADR-C Breast Enhancement treatment, tailored for women seeking to enhance breast volume and target stubborn body fat simultaneously.

Known as Breast Fat Grafting, the ADR-C Breast Enhancement method provides a natural alternative to breast enlargement using your body’s own fat reserves, reducing the risk of rejection associated with silicone or saline implants. Dr Puah employs the MDC-Sculpt® Lipo technique to extract excess fat from a donor site on your body.

After purification, the doctor carefully injects the cleansed fat into the breast area. Over time, these integrated fat cells blend with the surrounding breast tissue, resulting in a firmer and more defined appearance.

This approach yields lasting, natural-looking results, minimising incisions and scarring while providing both enhanced breast volume and a more streamlined body contour. The utilisation of your own fat cells eliminates the risk of rejection compared to traditional implants, making it suitable for a broader range of individuals.

Patient safety is a primary concern at Amaris B. Clinic, with a focus on your well-being throughout the process. During your consultation, Dr Puah will comprehensively outline potential risks, side effects, and expected outcomes.

A patient who developed “axillary accessory breasts” during pregnancy shares her story

A patient who developed “axillary accessory breasts” during pregnancy shares her story

In an enlightening interview, Marilyn, a 37-year-old mother, shared her experience of grappling with “accessory breasts” during pregnancy, shedding light on her journey towards liberation through Amaris B. Clinic.

Reflecting on her initial encounter with “axillary accessory breasts”, the patient described, “I have had two pregnancies. I first noticed the development of ‘armpit lumps’ during my first pregnancy several years ago. It was a gradual change that began with some tenderness and swelling in my armpit area.”

This seemingly subtle transformation unravelled into a more pronounced and visible change during her second pregnancy. These lumps, later identified as “axillary accessory breasts”, became sources of physical discomfort and emotional turmoil, prompting her to adapt her clothing choices.

“Emotionally, it was quite challenging. I felt self-conscious and less body-confident,” she shared. “I had to make lifestyle adjustments. I became very conscious of my clothes; I had to do away with tank tops and sleeveless. I had to wear loose-fitting tops. My fashion choices were limited,” she articulated.

Seeking resolution, the patient turned to Dr Puah from Amaris B. Clinic. She recounted her journey, stating, “I consulted Dr Puah at Amaris B. Clinic, initially thinking the armpit lumps were fat and wanted to do a liposuction to treat it. After the assessment, the doctor told me, in fact, I had both armpit fat and accessory breasts.”

Dr Puah’s comprehensive approach recommended accessory breast removal and liposuction, a procedure performed under local anaesthesia at a Day Surgery Centre.

“I was nervous and yet excited,” she confessed, illustrating the emotional seesaw she experienced. “Following the procedure, there was some postoperative discomfort, but it was manageable by painkillers.”

She conveyed her gratitude for the reassuring presence of Dr Puah and his team, highlighting how their guidance eased her journey. The procedure’s success allowed her to embrace life anew, free from the physical discomfort and emotional burdens that had marred her pregnancy experiences.

Now, on the other side of her journey, the patient radiated positivity, affirming, “The treatment had been transformative. Firstly, the bulges are gone, and the armpit area is flattened. I can wear sleeveless swimwear, tank tops, etc., without the burden, discomfort, and self-consciousness.”

She extended heartfelt advice to mothers in similar circumstances: “Don’t hesitate to seek help from a medical professional who is experienced in treating this medical condition. It was not for vanity that I underwent the surgery, but more for my emotional well-being and physical concerns. You have a choice to be a happy mother!”

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Aesthetics • Sculpting • Fitness

An Integrated Aesthetics, Sculpting & Fitness Clinic in Singapore by Dr. Ivan Puah since 2004.

Amaris B. Clinic
140 Arab Street
199827 Singapore