Extremely underdeveloped breasts. Is it normal?

I'm going to be 17 in 3 months and I'm really worried my breast aren't just small, but underdeveloped, or maybe they are developed but just weirdly shaped. I don't know. I want to go to the doctor to find out, but I can't seem to ask my parents and nobody takes me seriously when I say that I think there's something wrong. I've had my period for 2 years and full pubic hair for about the same amount of time. Here are front and side photos of them.

Doctor Answers 9

Normal small breasts

Thank you for your question.  Although your breasts are small you are very fortunate that there is no significant developmental abnormality.  By this I mean you do not have a tuberous breast which is very difficult to correct.

You simply have small breasts with minimal breast gland development.  You are still young and your breasts may enlarge over the next 2-3 years.

I would urge you to wait until you're 22 before deciding to have breast augmentation surgery.  Your development should be complete by thin and at that age you will be able to have silicone gel breast implants.  I understand how difficult it is but I would encourage you to be patient and wait.

For more information on breast augmentation please read the following link:

"Normal" breast size is a wide variation of sizes.

At 16, your breast development may not be complete, and your changing height, weight, slacks size, and bra size are all indicators that can help you know if there is growth that may yet occur. Let's hope there is, and your breasts will grow more. Even when all growth is complete, you may still be smaller than you desire, and breast augmentation is the operation you may wish to consider.

And if growth is complete right now, then there's breast augmentation to consider. So you're covered either way. For now I would recommend educating yourself about breast augmentation, and avoid creams, pills, exercisers, or even Brava devices. (Brava can give 1/2 to just under a cup of breast enlargement, but the growth is not long-term, and the time, money, and effort expended is NOT worth it, IMHO.) The rest are worthless.

Fat grafting remains controversial, but in my opinion has no place in normal breasts, since some of the grafted fat ALWAYS dies, causing scar lumps and potential calcifications that can cloud the detection of breast cancer via physical examination or mammography. Since (even with tiny breasts) you have a 1 in 8 or 9 chance of developing breast cancer in your lifetime, early detection is a big deal. In my opinion, fat grafting into a normal breast for enlargement is NOT "natural" and NOT advisable.

BTW, your breasts are not abnormally shaped--they're just small and somewhat widely spaced. You are a great candidate for breast augmentation, but would need parental consent before age 18 (and it isn't advisable until the growth question is definitively answered in a year or three). For more information, click on the web reference link below for my Comprehensive Guide to Breast Augmentation. You can even ask your mom to read it (and dad too if he's cool with that) so they can become your advocates rather than your roadblock.

In the meantime, you should also consider asking your parents about a gynecology or endocrinology consultation to have your hormone levels checked, just to be thorough and complete. Wouldn't it surprise everyone (even you) if you would benefit from bio-identical hormone supplement(s)? Asking for a "female physical" shouldn't be met with too much resistance, especially if you have the courage to ask them in a serious fashion. They'll be glad that you're not asking them about pregnancy or STDs!

I'm taking you very seriously, and those who aren't are obviously NOT the ones to be asking. Something may not be wrong, but you shouldn't be afraid to ask the very reasonable question. Get going and talk to your parents, or start with the parent you feel you can talk to the most comfortably (might even be your dad). Good luck and best wishes! (Don't forget to click on the web link.) Dr. Tholen

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 238 reviews

Breast Augmentation

no cause for alarm!  We see many patients who look just like you at much older ages.  Actually I completely agree with Dr. Garcia below, who is my good friend from Las Vegas, and have only a couple things to add to his extensive comments. If you would ever want implants, you can get saline at age 18, but have to wait until age 22 for gel.  But you are normal, even though you are displeased.  All the best,
"Dr. Joe Gryskiewicz"
 P.S. My family is also from Perham

When are breasts done developing

Women's beast can continue to develop until their early twenties. Having said that, breast development is genetically controlled and in a family of small breasted women, you may have reached your peak. There is nothing a surgeon can tell you about future potential growth of your breasts though. It will be a matter of comparing yourself to your female relatives and waiting I am afraid.

Julio Garcia, MD
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Breast Development

It is not unusual to have small breast development that does not change with time and that is why an augmentation mammoplasty has been so popular over the years.  Imagine how you would feel if one of your breasts was as small as it is and the other the size of Dolly Parton (and that does happen).  Consider your self lucky that with a simple augmentation now or in the future you will have beautiful breasts!

Dr. Corbin

Frederic H. Corbin, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

Extremely underdeveloped breasts. Is it normal?

In all liikelihood, you will not have much more development, but I still think it would be wise to wait one more year. If no further tisue development has happened by then, I think you will have your answer. It would be good to start talking to your Mom now about your concerns so you can research the augmentation procedure together in case that is a consideration for you in the future.

Ronald V. DeMars, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Extremely underdeveloped breasts. Is it normal?

Hi ad thanks for your question. Don't be so hard on yourself You have developed with small breasts. There is nothing wrong n your development. There are young women considered "late bloomers" but I really don't feel this will be the case with you. You have small breasts that are widely spaced. This is just a variant of normal breasts.

I know that it must be hard and frustrating for you. I deal with these issues everyday as a cosmetic breast surgeon. I also happen to be the father of three young women. Because you are not of age, you need to sit your parents down and discuss your dilemma. There is still time for you to develop. In the future you might consider the possibility of breast implants. If eventually you decide to get a breast augmentation, do your homework.

Search for a surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery with years of experience. Look at many, many before and after photos. Make sure that the photos that you are shown belong to patients of the surgeon that you are considering, not his/her partner or the clinic. Given the opportunity to view countless before and after photos will give you a very good idea to the consistency of the work. Are you being shown a few good results? The situation is analogous to the baseball player who hits a home run once in a while as opposed to the player who has a high batting average because he is consistent every time he steps up to bat.

You need to be able to speak with the surgeon's previous patients. There is nothing like a one to one sharing of info. RealSelf has done a wonderful job in allowing dialogue among patients.

Next, is the surgeon an individual who can earn your trust? Trust is key. You want to be guided along your journey by someone whom you trust. Trust is earned by being candid and truthful. It should not be easily given to the title of MD.

How many years has he/she been performing cosmetic breast surgery? Do you want an experienced surgeon or one that has had limited experience?

How about the center, clinic or facility? Are they accredited by a national organization or do they just have State approval. Understand that at the current time, there are three nationally recognized organizations responsible for the highest levels of patient safety, AAAASF, AAACH and JCHO. You owe it to yourself to position yourself for the best possible results but under the most stringent safety regulations, If you have kids, even more so.

How about anesthesia? Will you have a medical doctor certified by the American Board of Anesthsiology or a certified nurse anesthetist (CRNA)? Understand that there is no substitute for research. Cosmetic surgery, no matter how simple it may be to the patients, are invasive procedures and as such carry certain risks and complications. Research, research and then research some more.

Good luck

What Can I Do?

Dear Njm918,  Not all women develop breast tissue at the same time and indeed you may be a "late bloomer". Please be patient at this time, you may develop more tissue over the next year or so. If not, then you could be a candidate for breast augmentation.  I would suggest that you try to talk about this with your parents and/or with your family doctor/pediatrician the next time you meet with them. If your parents are agreeable (because you are under 18), you could seek a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon with your parents. Otherwise, after you turn 18, you could get the consultation on your own. Either way, I think it is a good idea to keep your parents in the loop. Good luck. #Dr.Gervais.

Douglas L. Gervais, MD
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 166 reviews

Doesn't appear to be abnormal

Your breasts appear to not be affected by any abnormality, and if you are getting your period consistently, then I don't think you should be worried about being "underdeveloped". You may just have small breasts. However, you should talk to your GP to find out if there are any issues. Your breasts will continue to develop as you age, and you may find that you experience dramatic growth by 19-20 years old.

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.