Conditions We Treat

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Contact the Adolescent Breast Center

The Adolescent Breast Center evaluates, diagnoses, and treats a wide variety of breast disorders and conditions, ranging from the very common to the extremely rare. Some of the more common conditions we see at the center include:

Macromastia (overly enlarged female breasts)

Girls with macromastia often feel that their breasts are too large for their body frame. As a result, they might experience significant physical symptoms including back, neck, shoulder, and breast pain, especially when participating in physical activity. They also may suffer from difficulty finding appropriately fitting clothes, and other psychological impacts related to unwanted attention regarding their breast size.

Gynecomastia (enlarged male breasts)

Gynecomastia is the excessive development of male breast tissue. Although gynecomastia may resolve on its own, it may persist through puberty and cause physical, social and psychological distress.

Breast masses

Most breast masses within the adolescent male and female population are non-cancerous and are approached very differently than in adult patients. When they persist and are symptomatic treatment may include surgical removal.

Breast pain

Breast pain may be due to a wide range of unknown or known causes, including: menstrual cycles, breast masses, enlarged breast tissue (macromastia/gynecomastia) and mastitis.

Breast asymmetry (uneven breasts)

An umbrella term encompassing a wide range of differences in breast size, shape and position. Although these differences are common during puberty, breast asymmetry can persist through puberty and into adulthood and result in social and psychological distress. Breast asymmetry conditions include:

  • Amastia. Absence of one or both mammary glands, nipple, and areola.

  • Amazia. The absence of one or both mammary glands, with the nipples and areola present.

  • Poland syndrome. The underdevelopment or absence of the chest wall muscle on one side of the body. This may result in the underdevelopment or absence of one breast and underlying tissues on the affected side.

  • Tuberous breast deformity. Abnormal breast development in certain areas of the breast. Girls with tuberous breasts may have breasts that are shaped like long, thin tubes or hollow sacs. One or both breasts may be affected.

  • Breast hypoplasia (underdeveloped breasts). In some girls, the breast tissue does not fully develop, resulting in overall small breast volume. One or both breasts may be affected.

Other conditions we treat

  • Breast ptosis. Drooping of the breast with downward displacement of the breast tissue and nipple.

  • Galactorrhea (breast discharge). Discharge of milk from the nipple that is not part of childbirth or breast feeding. This may occur in both girls and boys and usually occurs in both breasts.

  • Inverted nipple. A condition in which the nipple turns inside the breast instead of pointing outward.

  • Mastitis. An infection that can occur during lactation if a major breast duct becomes plugged.

  • Supernumerary nipple (polythelia). Presence of an additional nipple. These tend to be small and are sometimes not recognized as an extra nipple.

  • Symmastia. Occurs when the skin along the center of a patient's chest pulls away from the sternum, giving breasts the appearance of being a single unit.

  • Virginal breast hypertrophy. A rare disorder in which breasts grow rapidly at the onset of puberty. Although the underlying cause is unclear, some research has pointed to increased hormonal activity or hypersensitivity to hormones.

We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

Boston Children's Hospital 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115 617-355-6000 | 800-355-7944

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