What Is Asymmetric Breast Tissue?

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(Image: Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Kevin Dooley)

A woman is often alarmed upon hearing she has asymmetric breast tissue. The term is the result of medical equipment becoming more sophisticated and distinguishing differences among breasts that may be harmless. It always warrants further investigation, however.

Appearance

Breasts tend to be fairly symmetrical in fibroglandular (or nonfat) tissue, but occasionally they differ slightly.

Feeling

One breast may feel different or thicker than the other breast, but a person performing a self-exam may not notice any difference.

Mammogram

Other than the person themselves, the mammogram is the first device to pick up whether moderate to suspicious asymmetry requires more testing.

Ultrasound

Women who have had a mammogram may be referred for an ultrasound, which enables doctors to detect whether any solid masses are causing the asymmetry.

Biopsy

If an ultrasound detects solid masses, your doctor will refer you to a specialist who will obtain tissue samples via a core needle biopsy to determine if the mass is benign or malignant.

Increased risk

Calcifications, underlying masses, or architectural distortion, which is a change in a breast’s shape and structure, indicate a greater probability of malignancy when associated with asymmetric breast tissue.

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