Breast deformities in children can come from a variety of causes, some congenital and some acquired in nature.
Congenital breast deformities may be evident when the child is born (for example, Poland syndrome), or may only become apparent in adolescence (for example, mammary hypoplasia or hyperplasia, asymmetries). The cause of most of these disorders is unknown.
Breast deformities can be acquired later in development, as a result of trauma, burns, tumors, surgery, infection, or endocrine dysfunction.
Whether congenital or acquired, breast deformities can cause functional and psychological problems for affected children. Difficulty with clothes not fitting properly, participation in sports and other social activities, and, of course, the significant appearance-related concerns adolescents may have if they have breast differences can be profound. It is well established that these appearance-related differences can have a significant impact on quality of life.
Early evaluation for breast disorders is important because timely medical or surgical treatment can significantly improve outcomes. If the disorder is due to endocrinopathy (disorder of the endocrine system), medical evaluation and treatment may eliminate the need for surgery. In most disorders, however, surgery may be required.
The timing and type of surgery is tailored to the needs of the individual patient and depends on many factors, including the age, degree of disfigurement and psychological health of the patient.
Surgical treatment of breast deformities may take the form of: