Can One Breast Stop Developing While the Other Continues to Grow?

I have always had slightly asymmetrical breasts but as I approached adolescence my breasts have become more different in size and shape. Though asymmetry is common, it looks like one breast simply stopped developing, because the nipple is smaller and the portion of breast tissue under the nipple is significantly not as large/developed as the other. Is this something natural or does it look like a health concern is the cause? Are There Non-invasive Treatments Available?

Doctor Answers (14)

Options for correcting asymmetrical breast development

+2

There are a number of options for creating a breast shape in a situation where one doesn't develop, but the key is to use some of the same techniques as with breast reconstruction. One option that I have found very useful is an expander-implant called Spectrum, made by Mentor. It is a saline implant that can be expanded slowly over a period of months to stretch out the skin enveope and fine-tune the volume. These procedures may not be covered by insurance but there is a grant program through the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (surgery.org) that can help in situations like yours if finances are an obstacle.


Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Breasts Growing Differently

+2

What you are describing sounds like Poland Syndrome, a developmental condition in which one breast doesn't develop properly, This must be accompanied by some growth alteration in the pectoralis muscle, and may also affect arm growth. There are different degrees in presentation. Your case sounds fairly straightforward. Often, placement of a breast implant will rectify the situation. On occasion, breast reduction must be done on the other side. if your other breast is not significantly larger, fat injection may be an option for you.

Karen Vaniver, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Asymmetry is normal

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In general, female breasts stop developing at around 18 or 19 years old. How old are you? This is when a primary level of maturity is achieved, however further changes occur with pregnancy and lactation (the production of breast milk). Your breasts will continue to change throughout your life, as the signs of aging become more apparent. For example, your breasts may begin to droop as supportive tissues weaken, or grow larger when you gain weight. 

Please note that nobody's breasts are symmetrical. Every woman has one breast that may be different in shape and/or size, and this asymmetry varies. It can be mild to severe, but note that this is totally normal. 

The only treatment that is safe and effective is cosmetic breast surgery. 

Jerome Edelstein, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 54 reviews

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Having some difference between you two breast is normal

+1

Having some difference between you two breast is normal provided the difference is not dramatic.  Lots of growth changes happen during adolescence, pregnancy, and menopause.  You should soon find the difference stable as you approach the end of adolescence.  Now might be a good time to seek out an experienced plastic surgeon to have his opinion on management.  Non surgical interventions on breast assymetries generally do not exist or do not work. Good luck.

Chen Lee, MD
Montreal Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Breast asymmetry

+1

It is normal to have some breast asymmetry. Some women will have more than others and it can become more noticeable with time.

 

 

David E. Kim, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Asymmetrical breasts can be normal

+1

Most women have asymmetry when it come to their breast.  Some have a greater difference between them than others.  Even extremely uneven breasts can be in the realm on normal.  If the difference in size in significant enough for you to consider have it corrected, there are several possible approaches.  Reduction of the larger side, implant placement of the smaller side, or fat grafting to the smaller side to enlarge it.  The last option tends to have the least scarring and the most natural look.  What ever you decide, make sure your breasts have stopped developing before you have surgery, or you may have to do it twice.

Leif L. Rogers, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Asymmetric Breasts

+1

Most breasts are in fact asymmetric.  It is unusual to find a woman that has perfectly symmetric breasts.  However, when the discrepancy is quite significant it can be an issue of self esteem, self confidence, ability to fit in clothes properly, etc.

Usually breasts asymmetry does not represent health risk in terms of breast cancer, or anything life threatening.  However, you should be examined by your primary care doctor to rule out any abnormal growth on the fast growing side. Another diagnosis that can cause this sort of breast appearance is called Poland Syndrome.   Poland Syndrome is when there is an underdevelopment of the breast on one side, underdevelopment of the nipple, and a missing pectoralis  major muscle on that side. You might in fact have Poland Syndrome.   Poland Syndrome might sound like a "disease" but it is not a health risk except for appearance.  Sometimes asymmetry can be “idiopathic” -which means for an unknown cause.  Whether  this is Poland Syndrome or idiopathic, you should have a consultation with a plastic surgeon to see if a cosmetic correction can be done. 

Again, there is no health risk, but you may want to have it corrected for your self confidence, better symmetry, and ability to fit into clothes proportionately.  Options may include an implant on the smaller side, or even on both sides, and a breast lift or reduction on the larger side.

Navin K. Singh, MD
Washington DC Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Can One Breast Stop Developing While the Other Continues to Grow?

+1

Yes there are variations in breast development. Rarely, Breast Agenesis or failure to grow vs the opposite side can occur. seek in person evaluations with a boarded PS in your area. Only treatment is surgery. 

Darryl J. Blinski, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 61 reviews

Considerable asymmetries of breasts is not a medical concern but is an aesthetic issue

+1

The situation that you describe may represent asymmetrical growth of the breasts which is quite common. If there is little growth on one side and "normal" growth on the other, this could also represent either a form of tuberous breasts or Poland's syndrome (which other plastic surgeons have mentioned). The appropriate treatment for you would depend on exactly which of the above represents your situation. Keep in mind that your issue presents no health concern though it is an aesthetic concern for you and rightfully so.

There is no treatment that is non-operative that would address your asymmetries so surgery would need to be performed. For more information, you should be evaluated by 1 or more board certified plastic surgeons in your area.

Steven Turkeltaub, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Asymmetric Breast Development.

+1

Yes, one breast can stop growing while the other continues. There are no health concerns. It is thought to be congenital (you were born with the problem, it just did not manifest until your breasts started growing). It is a form of what is known as Poland’s Syndrome. While what you describe is the most common presentation, it can have under-development of the pectoralis muscle (the chest muscle) and hand anomalies. Once both breasts have stopped growing, it is treatable with surgery.
 

Robert T. Buchanan, MD
Highlands Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.