Anatomy of the Breast

April 25, 2022

General Surgeon Katy Houston

Breasts are a pair of mammary glands situated on either side of the anterior thoracic wall. They are predominant in women. They are considered an important accessory of the female reproductive system because of the mammary glands present that aid in feeding the child after pregnancy and childbirth. The pair of breasts extend horizontally from the lateral border of the sternum through the mid-axillary line. 

Female breasts are glandular tissues that consist of breast ducts and breast lobes. They are made of fatty and fibrous tissues and cells. The fatty tissues take the space between glandular and fibrous tissues. The breasts are supported by the body through ligaments, which are connective tissues that are supportive and flexible. The pectoral muscles in the thoracic area, lying against the chest wall support them. The breasts consist of about 20 fibrous glands, also called lobes. These lobes are present in the fatty tissues. Each lobe further consists of more lobes called lobules or sacs, which produce milk. The ducts carry milk to the sac, and to the nipple. The lymph nodes receive lymph from the breast tissue. There are 3 types of lymph nodes, namely the Axillary nodes (75%), the Parasternal nodes (20%), and the Posterior intercostal nodes (5%). There is also lymphatic drainage near the breast skin. This is especially important because of the role it plays in the process of metastasis.

Breast Cancer is the most common type of cancer identified in women around the world. After lung cancer, it is the second most common cancer that affects people. Abrupt blockages in the lymphatic drainages cause breast cancer. The excess lymph in the tissue causes nipple deviation and retraction. It also caused tiny holes or pores in the surface of the ski near the breast. If these pores appear large, it could be due to fibrosis or cancerous invasions. Frequent checkups after the age of 35 are recommended for women to understand the growth of any cancerous cells or abnormal blockages in the lymph nodes. The checkups help determine the health of the breasts and could prevent a possible advanced stage of Breast Cancer.

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