What are tuberous breasts?

Breast Augmentation / Breast Reduction / Breast Lift / Post Pregnancy Surgery

13 Jun 2023


I regularly treats patients with tuberous or ‘tubular’ breast deformity. Many women don’t even realise they have tuberous breasts until they see us! So, what is the condition and which plastic surgery procedures are available to help improve the appearance?

Tuberous or ‘tubular’ breasts often occur when an insufficient amount of breast tissue develops during puberty. Truly tuberous breasts can appear in many forms – with impacts on appearance of the breast from mild to severe. Typically, we see enlarged and puffy areola, wide space between the breasts, a small amount of breast tissue (even in larger woman), an abnormally high breast fold and a conical or pointy breast shape. Lifestyle factors such as pregnancy or rapid weight loss can see mild tuberous breasts turn to severely tuberous breasts.

While tuberous breasts are very common and pose no health threat, they may impact on the ability to breast feed and most women seeking corrective surgery are hoping to achieve a more ‘normal’ looking chest.

What plastic surgery procedures are available for tuberous breasts?

Breast Augmentation for Tuberous Breasts

Many patients with tuberous breasts seek breast augmentation in order to achieve a move ‘normal’ chest. However, a ‘simple’ breast augmentation is usually not enough to correct this condition. Undiagnosed patients who undergo a straightforward breast augmentation will often simply see an exaggeration of the deformity.

Instead, I often have to resize the areola and use an anatomical (tear drop) shaped implant to give the breast a more normal shape. In many tuberous breast cases, I also use fat transfer to give the implant enough coverage and achieve the most natural-looking r

Breast Lift for Tuberous Breasts

Many patients seeking correction of tuberous breasts are an ideal candidate for a breast lift or ‘mastopexy’ procedure. This procedure involves an ‘anchor’ scar pattern, involving an incision around the areola, like a lollipop towards the base of the breast and then along the length of the breast fold. A breast lift allows me to resize the areola, reset the breast fold, reposition the skin and breast tissue and create an overall firmer, perkier, more rounded appearance. A breast lift procedure is ideal for patients who are experiencing a degree of laxity or ‘droopiness’ with their tuberous breasts, or who need their areola to be resized or repositioned.

Two-stage Breast Lift and Implants for Tuberous Breasts
For some patients, a two-stage breast lift and augmentation is the best course of action for correcting tuberous breasts. Not only will you receive the perkiness, roundness and areola correction benefits of the breast lift, but you will also achieve the fullness and projection of the breast implant. I recommend staging these procedures around 12 months apart to ensure the breast lift scars have had enough time to completely mature before introducing the weight of the breast implants. A two-stage procedure for tubular breasts will often produce the best possible long-term result, with the most minimal scarring. More information about one vs. two stage breast lift and augmentation can be found here.

Fat Grafting for Tuberous Breasts

While I do not perform fat grafting a stand-alone procedure, I will often combine fat grafting with a breast lift or breast augmentation in order to correct a tuberous breast case. While fat grafting is not a substitute for a breast implant, it can add between half to one cup size of volume. More information about fat grafting can be found here.

Will Medicare help cover the cost of tuberous breast correction?

In severe cases, tuberous breast correction is classed as a medically necessary procedure and there may be Medicare and private health fund rebates available. Please note that not every patient with very small breasts has a tubular breast deformity, and so not all breast augmentation patients are able to qualify for a Medicare rebate.

If you suspect that you may have tuberous breasts, the first step would be to visit your GP for a clinical diagnosis and referral to come and see us. The Medicare item numbers for tuberous breast correction (to check coverage with your health fund) are 45060, 45558.

While Medicare will provide a modest rebate after surgery, more importantly your health fund will be able to ‘kick in’ and cover the cost of your hospital stay and theatre fees. Your eligibility for Medicare assistance can be discussed further during your consultation.

Ready to explore your surgical options?

To explore your options for tuberous breast correction, begin your journey by booking a Vectra 3D photo simulation with my Practice Manager. This appointment is just $100 which comes off the cost of a consultation with me if you wish to proceed.

Too book, just give one of our friendly team a call on 4920 7700 or send us a message below to secure an appointment. We look forward to hearing from you!

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*Individual results will vary according to factors including genetics, age, diet and exercise. All surgery carries risks and requires a recovery period and care regime including wearing of post operative garments. More information is available from the relevant procedure page on our website. You should seek a second opinion from a Specialist Surgeon before proceeding. Dr Moncrieff is a Specialist Plastic Surgeon - AHPRA Registration: MED0001182297.

Dr Nicholas Moncrieff

Blog Author:

Dr Nicholas Moncrieff, Cosmetic Plastic Surgeon 

About Dr Moncrieff

Dr Moncrieff focuses exclusively on breast reductions, breast lifts, breast augmentation, tummy tucks and body lifts.

He is one of only a handful of Plastic Surgeons across Australia with this sole breast and body focus.

Dr Moncrieff has performed thousands of surgical procedures over more than two decades in medicine. Over 20,000 of these procedures have been in Newcastle.

More information about Dr Moncrieff is available here.

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