How Can You Tell if Your Breast is More Tissue Than Fat?

I have asked about a breast reduction before. I've been dieting for some time now and at about 115 lbs. At 5' 0". I'm making my breast fit into a 34 DD with a sports bra over a regular one. But in all honesty I'm about a 30 DDD or even an E. I've been dieting and haven't lost weight or inches in that area at all. How can I tell if I have any fat left in that area or is it all tissue left?

Doctor Answers 10

Mammogram gives semiquantitative measure of fat vs. glandular breast tissue

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Hi Tessaleann,

An experienced plastic surgeon can estimate whether your breast contains significant fat, but mammography is more accurate.  The mammography images give a picture of the relative fatty and glandular tissues, and are graded by the radiologist on the BI-RADS system, where a BI-RADS 1 means that your breast is over 75% fat, and a BI-RADS 4 breast is over 75% gland.

Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Breast legnth, fat and gland content

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Breast is composed of glandularr tissue and fatty tissue, all wrapped in what we call the "skin envelope."

As the other doctors pointed out, your age, weight, hormonal status, and number of prior pregnancies all can affect the amount of fat vs. gland in your breast.

One reason thin patients, especially those who have lost a  lot of weight,  still wear a very large bra is that the breast is long.  This causes patients to "roll up" their breast in an oversized bra cup to get a proper fit.


Of course, photos and a physical examination would be needed to make this determination.



John LoMonaco, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 276 reviews

Lack Of Change w/ Weight Loss--Suggestive Of Glandular Tissue Remaining

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It’s virtually impossible to estimate the relative proportion of glandular tissue to fatty tissue in any particular women’s breasts. This ratio can be affected by multiple variables including, genetics, hormonal status, patient’s weight and age.
A past history of breast shrinkage with weight loss suggests the presence of significant amounts of fat.In contrast breasts that don’t change with weight loss are likely to have more glandular tissue.
Your history indicates that your breasts have remained unchanged despite weight loss.This suggests a relatively high proportion of glandular tissue in your breasts.Under these circumstances you would probably be an excellent candidate for breast reduction surgery.

Breast size fluctuation with weight change.

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This is a great question.  All breasts are made up of glandular tissue and fat and it is hard to tell on examination the relative proportion of each.  Some people find that the size of their breast fluctuates as their weight changes and these people have fatty breasts.  Others find that their breasts do not change in size regardless of fluctuations in weight and these are largely glandular breasts.

The importance of this comes when you are considering having a breast reduction.  It is important that you are comfortable and stable with your weight before having surgery, because the effect of weight changes after surgery will be unpredictable. 

If you are comfortable at your current weight, then you should ask yourself if you are happy with the volume of your breasts - if so, you may need a mastopexy if they are sitting low.  If you feel the volume is too much, then a breast reduction may be for you.  Good luck.

Glandular Vs Fatty Breasts

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All breast tissue is a combination of adipose tissue and glandular tissue.  In some women there is a good bit of depot fat where weight gains and losses are mirrored in the breasts. Although you still have fat in your breasts, it sounds as if it is not depot type fat in your case.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon


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Dear Tessa,

All women have a combination of breast parenchyma and fat in their breasts. Concentration of fat is mostly dependent on BMI status.

Based on your height and weight your BMI is 22 which means you are not overweight. BMI range and fat concentration in breasts is often equally proportional. In addition, the fact that despite loosing weight and not decreasing in breast size tells me that your breasts are mostly composed of parenchyma.

Congratulations on your successful weight loss!

Kind regards,

Dr. H

Gary M. Horndeski, MD
Texas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 230 reviews

How much fat in breast tissue

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Breast tissue is a combination of breast glandular tissue and fatty tissue.  Typically, the relative proportions of each will depend on your age, hormonal status, etc.  Based on what you have written, you have large breasts and may benefit from  breast reduction surgery.  I would suggest that you consult with a board certified plastic surgeon to discuss your options.  Good luck!

Anureet K. Bajaj, MD
Oklahoma City Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

What does breast tissue consist of?

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Breast tissue is a combination of gland and fat. Congratulations on the dieting. If you are still an E cup, then you may want to consider breast reduction surgery and, for these purposes, the proportion of gland v. fat would not be a critical factor.

Breast Tissue Consistency?

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Thank you for the question.

Although age and weight may be factors in determining what proportion of your breasts is adipose tissue as opposed to breast tissue, physical examination will be the best way to determine the relative proportions of each type of tissue.

Based on your description of body type in breast size you may be an excellent candidate for breast reduction surgery, regardless of whether the breast consists mainly of a position or breast parenchymal tissue.

When you have achieved a long-term stable weight and appropriate “life circumstances”, you may benefit from in-person consultation with board-certified plastic surgeons. Keep in mind, that breast reduction surgery is one of the most patient pleasing operations performed.

Best wishes.

Breast tissue vs fat

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It is unlikely that you have a high proportion of fat in your breasts based on the description of your anatomy.  As you get older, more of your breast tissue gets replaced by fat, but even at your weight, it is more likely to be breast tissue.

Leonard T. Yu, MD
Maui Plastic Surgeon

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.