Causes of breast overdevelopment

Causes of breast overdevelopment

01st Jun 2019



The overdevelopment of the breasts can occur very early in life, during teenage years or later on after different events that affect the body such as pregnancy. Many patients don’t know what causes the overdevelopment of the breasts and how it can be treated.

It is important to understand that there can be many causes of breast hypertrophy. Today, we will discuss just a few of them and also present a solution that is efficient in all cases. Breast reduction surgery is the procedure that can be performed to reduce the size and volume of overly large breasts on patients who are eligible to undergo it. The procedure can be performed even on teenage patients and is associated with certain risks and long-term consequences that patients should be fully aware before scheduling. Otherwise, the procedure is safe and efficient when performed by an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon.


Causes of the overdevelopment of the breasts

The overdevelopment of the breasts is known under the name of mammary hypertrophy and can affect both men and women. When it occurs in men, it creates the appearance of feminine-looking breasts that is not masculine at all, and it is called gynecomastia.

Breast hypertrophy often occurs in both breasts and is characterized by the excessive growth of the breasts that can also become longer and saggy. The volume of the breasts can become impressively large, and this is when we are talking about another condition associated with the overdevelopment of the breasts called gigantomastia. It is difficult to make a difference between macromastia and gigantomastia, and some specialists suggest for the condition to be diagnosed as gigantomastia if the volume of the breasts is over 3% of the weight of the body.

In many cases, the causes of breast hypertrophy are hormonal. Other factors that could lead to the occurrence of macromastia or gigantomastia are hereditary, traumatic and inflammatory. The only treatment that is effective in treating these conditions is surgical through breast reduction surgery. When performed on men, the procedure is called gynecomasty.


The overdevelopment of the breasts can occur during or after:

–    Pregnancy and breastfeeding

One of the causes of the overdevelopment of the breasts is hormonal, and this is a factor that affects the breasts during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Breastfeeding can be associated with breasts of a larger size also because of milk production. After the changes that affect the breasts during pregnancy and breastfeeding, they can return to their previous size and volume, lose volume, or have an increased volume. There will be mothers who will notice that their breasts have become and remained overly big after pregnancy and breastfeeding.

–    Weight fluctuations

Breasts can get very big when the patient gains weight. It is normal considering the fact that the weight will be deposited in different areas of the body, including the breasts. However, when the breasts become larger due to the accumulation of fat and not an excessive growth of the mammary gland, the structure of the breasts is different, and another procedure might be recommended to treat the condition. For example, in men, we call this condition pseudogynecomasty, and the common treatment is liposuction as we are talking about fat deposits. The treatment for women can be different, depending on the condition of the breasts and the other anatomical characteristics of the patient.

–    Teenage years

It is very common for the overdevelopment of the breasts that is caused by excessive growth of the mammary gland to occur during teenage years. This means that the breasts will have an excessive growth until they are fully developed, so there are teenagers who are no older than 16 years old but have breasts that are huge compared to the rest of their anatomy. The causes of this excessive growth of glandular tissue are also hormonal.


One solution: breast reduction surgery

The breasts are not only a maternal symbol but also the symbol of femininity. Hence, they get a lot of attention. Not having breasts that are harmonious with the rest of the woman’s anatomy can lead to serious emotional complexes that can affect the quality of life of the patient on multiple levels.

The hypertrophy of the breasts, while considered a blessing by many, can turn out to be a real struggle for women confronted with it. While most women dream of having big breasts, it is often the case that women with overly large breasts dream of getting rid of them. Another issue associated with overly large breasts is breast ptosis. This means that large breasts have a tendency to start sagging much earlier compared to normal size breasts. In other words, we can have teenagers with breasts that are sagging and very low on the chest wall because their size is just too big to be supported easily by the breast ligaments. Generally speaking, breasts that are large because of an excess of adipose tissue tend to weigh less than breasts that are overdeveloped due to an excess of glandular tissue.

This hypertrophy is responsible for pain in the neck, back, and shoulders. It is also responsible for numerous discomforts and prevents or hinders certain daily activities. Finally, it can be the cause of infections and dermatological problems that occur on the inframammary fold due to a lack of proper oxygenation in the area.

To reduce large breasts, women can resort to plastic surgery, namely the breast reduction procedure. The surgical procedure consists of removing excess fat, a part of the glandular tissue, and excess skin. When breast reduction surgery is performed, the plastic surgeon will also correct the size of the nipple and areola complex that is often enlarged for women with overly large breasts.

The procedure leaves behind scars that are permanent.  The dimension and shape of the scar are dependent on the surgical plan to be followed during the procedure, and this issue will be discussed with the plastic surgeon during the pre-operative consultation.


Candidacy for breast reduction surgery

During the pre-operative consultation, the plastic surgeon will assess your candidacy for the procedure. In other words, you won’t know that this is the right procedure for you and if you are eligible to undergo it until meeting with the plastic surgeon. The plastic surgeon will perform a medical examination on the tissues of the breasts to determine if the overdevelopment of the breasts is caused by an excess of mammary gland or adipose tissue. Since the procedure should only be performed on patients of a normal weight that has been stable for at least six to eight months, the plastic surgeon might recommend you to lose weight if necessary before undergoing the plastic surgery procedure.

The patient should be in good emotional and medical condition to be eligible to undergo breast reduction surgery and also fully aware of the complications that could occur during or after the procedure.

It is also important to understand and accept the idea that scars will be left behind after the procedure. If the overdevelopment of the breasts is excessive, the scars could be significant. They are permanent, but their appearance will become more like the surrounding tissues in time. It can take up to one year for the scars left after breast reduction surgery to heal and mature.



Overdeveloped breasts are not always a blessing, especially if their volume creates complications and discomforts for the patient. If you are struggling with back, neck and shoulder pain, you might have breast hypertrophy.

Overly large breasts can be caused by an excess of fat tissue or the excessive growth of the mammary gland. The appearance of the breasts is different and also their weight depending on what caused the overdevelopment. Breasts that are mostly made out of fat tissue can look bulky but weigh less than breasts that have an excess of mammary tissue.

The overdevelopment of the breasts can occur during teenage years, pregnancy and breastfeeding, or due to weight gain. It can affect both men and women and most often it is present in both breasts. When the condition occurs in men, it is called gynecomastia.

The treatment plan is different depending on the anatomy of the patient, the aesthetic goals to be achieved, and what caused the overdevelopment of the breasts. In men, if there is an excess of fat tissue in the breasts, the procedure performed is liposuction, and the condition is called pseudogynecomastia. In women, different procedures can be performed, but the most common procedure to reduce the size of the breasts and improve their appearance is breast reduction surgery. When breast reduction surgery is performed, the plastic surgeon will also elevate saggy breasts.


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