Do I have axillary breast tissue or just fat pockets?

I have protruding fatty tissue between my breasts and armpits. I have put on weight through the years but I remember having it even when I was in my teens, and wasn't in bad shape. My breasts grew large quite rapidly at a young age, and as long as I can remember having breasts I had these pockets that stuck out. I've always been quite self-conscious of them considering none of the other girls had these so I was just wondering if they are breast tissue, or did I just accumulate fat in this area?

Doctor Answers 6

Do I have axillary breast tissue or just fat pockets?

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From your photos and medical history, I believe that you probably have a combination of excess fat and breast tissue in this area.  In most cases, this excess tissue can be treated with an energy assisted liposuction, such as Vaser Ultrasound assisted liposuction.  If you are considering a breast augmentation, lift or reduction, this procedure could be performed at the same time.  Be certain to mention this issue to your plastic surgeon, they should be able to help.  Best wishes, Dr. Lepore.

San Jose Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 63 reviews

Axillary breast tissue or lipodystrophy?

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Depending upon your history of changes in the size of that area possibly linked to your menstrual cycles and physical examination it is difficult to tell you definitively whether it is simply fat or breast tissue or a combination of both.  Physical examination to feel if it is soft and fatty or more firm would be helpful. Meet with an ABPS board-certified plastic surgeon to discuss options.  If it is fat alone, liposuction is very effective and skin excision can be avoided.  Best wishes,

Jon A Perlman M.D., FACS
Diplomate, American Board of Plastic Surgery
Member, American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS)
ABC-TV Extreme Makeover Surgeon
Beverly Hills, California

Jon A. Perlman, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Tassos Dionisopoulos MD

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thank you for your question. although it is hard to be sure and most probably it is a combination of the two, however one clue that the tissue is mostly breast tissue as opposed to fatty tissue is if there was a change in them with either your period or during a pregnancy. i've had patients tell me that they actually lactated from a small "mole" overlying these lumps!  either way, the most effective treatment would be to remove them surgically and have a rather acceptable scar in that area. there seems to be too much there to expect the skin to tighten if you had liposuction alone. 

Tassos Dionisopoulos, MD
Montreal Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Axillary breast tissue or fat?

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Thank you for asking about your axillary fullness.

  • You probably have both excess fat and some axillary breast tissue and some excess skin.
  • Based on the photo, I would expect liposuction and removal of excess skin might be best.
  • But I suggest you see a plastic surgeon for an examination to be sure.

Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Best wishes  - Elizabeth Morgan MD PHD FACS

What's the difference between "arm pit fat" and "arm pit breast tissue"???

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Hi there Ms Bliss,

My guess is that it's a combination of both.  Depending on your age and weight gain, it may be more of one than the other.

The best way to sort this out is to have a consultation and be examined.  When it is largely fat, it can be treated by liposuction.   Also, if you expect to lose some weight, you may see it reduce over time by your own efforts.  In addition, it is fairly common to address this area with liposuction at the time of a breast reduction.

Good luck!

In good health,

Ellen Mahony, MD

Ellen A. Mahony, MD
Westport Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

"bra fat"

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Embryologically the breast descends in the fetus from under the arm, so true breast tissue under the arm is not unusual. Having said that, in the majority of women who have this  accumulation it is just fat and easily removed with liposuction. I believe it develops from the crease that forms by wearing a bra

R. Laurence Berkowitz, MD
San Jose Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 13 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.