I’ve seen postings recently in a feminist forum about tuberous breasts, and whether one would be justified in having plastic surgery to improve them. The woman who initiated the discussion said she wanted to have the procedure to fix her tubular breasts, but felt bad about it. As a feminist, she said she felt “angry” that she was longing for surgery and even that she “wanted to die at the thought.”
If there ever were a condition that might drive a woman who thinks that “plastic surgery, on the whole, is ridiculous” to go under the knife, tuberous breasts would be a good candidate. Named for the fact that the breasts resemble tubers in shape, tuberous breasts (sometimes called “tubular breasts”) are formed when the base of the breast is smaller than usual. This constricted circumference causes the breast tissue to push forward and sometimes down, exacerbated by the fact that the inframammary fold (where the breast attaches to the chest wall) is often higher than normal.
Women with tuberous breasts usually have large areolas as well. When all these factors are present, it’s easy to see why one of the nicknames for this condition is “Snoopy breasts.” Although you may consider the famous Beagle adorable, you probably don’t want to have breasts that remind you of his nose.
In most cases, to create breasts that are more pleasing in appearance requires a bit more work than simply inserting implants. Plastic surgeons often need to make internal incisions to release constricting tissue and expand the base width of the breast. The breast pocket may need enlarging to accept an appropriate implant. Because women with tuberous breasts often have scant breast tissue, it’s often best to place implants below the chest muscle for a natural looking result. For this group of patients, silicone gel breast implants should be considered, as they tend to hold their shape well.
The feminist whose posting I read said that her tuberous breasts were “self esteem shattering” and that she always kept her bra on while having sex. In my view, those feelings are reason enough to feel ok about considering plastic surgery, regardless of which body part is the culprit and how “cosmetic” the procedure might be. In fact, body image is the key. If you happen to have tuberous breasts and aren’t bothered by them, great.
But this woman, who obviously does suffer significant embarrassment, can take comfort in the fact that tuberous breasts are considered to be a true deformity. Dictionaries define “deformity” as a part of the body that’s abnormally formed, “abnormal” meaning not usual or typical, deviating from what’s considered standard. What would you do if you were born with a cleft palate? Webbed fingers? You’d probably have surgery to fix the condition. And you’d probably feel a great sense of relief that you took the plunge.