Getting to know the anatomy of breasts

Everybody is talking about breasts, but the key to know how to treat them and give them a good care is getting to know them and how they work. Breasts are beautiful, but there are not two women with identical breasts. Each type of breasts has its own particularities, and if a woman gets to know her body it will be easier to choose the right exercises and diet to keep it healthy.

Breasts have an almost completely symmetrical structure, although most of the time the right side breast is smaller in size than the breast of the left side and they are placed under the skin over the chest. Each breast, with an exterior appearance of a prominence of variable turgescence and size, has internal and external structures. Among the external structures we have the nipple and the areola.

Internally each breast has from 15 sections to 20 sections known as lobules. Big quantities of adipose tissue can be found, which constitutes at least 90 percent of the internal structure of each breast giving it the prominent appearance. In turn each lobule is composed of many small lobules which also end on dozens of small bulbs which are in charge of the production of milk. In general mammary glands are distributed throughout the breast although almost 60 percent of glandular tissue is placed on the 30 mm closer to the nipple base.

The lactiferous ducts are in charge of connecting all the lobules that are part of the mammary glands; these are shaped like thin tubes, most of the ducts lead to the nipple in the center region of a dark area of skin called the areola. Spaces between lobules and ducts are filled with fat. Breasts have no muscles on their structure, although they receive some support from pectoral muscle. Breasts also contain lymphatic vessels and blood vessels, lymphatic vessels lead to small organs known as lymph nodes, clusters of such nodes can be found on the underarm above the collarbone and on the chest.

Breasts vary in size and shape, external appearance does not say too much about their internal structure or about their lactation potential. The shape of the breast will be defined by its support which is mainly formed by underlying thoracic tissue and Cooper’s ligaments. Each breast is attached to a base over chest wall thanks to a deep fascia which covers pectoral muscles. On the superior part breasts are covered by a portion of skin which also provides them some support. This amalgamation of anatomical support is which defines the shape of the breast.

Arterial blood flow that supplies each breast has its origin on the internal thoracic artery (which used to be known as internal mammary artery), and the venous drainage of each breast is mainly done by an axillary vein. Both men and women have a bigger concentration of nerves and blood vessels on nipples, and in both genres nipples have an erectile capacity.