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Breast Exterior

"Hey! What are these bumps next to my nipple?
 I've never noticed them before this."


The Montgomery's Glands
 in a front view allows you to see them more clearly. You can see three very distinct Montgomery's Glands just below the nipple, as well as the ones that are pointed out by the lines. These will be more prominent when the breast is cold or sexually stimulated.

The Areola
in this image is difficult to distinguish, since it's coloration is very close to that of the skin of the breast that surrounds it. The smooth texture seen in this view indicates that the body is warm. The Nipple and Montgomery's (Areolar) Glands become more prominent and the Areolar skin temporarily takes on a wrinkled texture when the person is cold, sexually excited, frightened or otherwise stimulated. The areolae on one woman may be as small as an inch in diameter and on another it could cover one half of the breast. Pregnancy and breastfeeding usually causes it to take on a darker pigmentation and become larger in diameter.

Blood Vessels
These tend to become more visible at certain times and may always be present in some breasts. Pregnancy and lactation can cause them to become more visible while the breast is getting ready for (or maintaining) the process of producing milk. Breasts have a relatively small amount of blood vessels, requiring more Lymphatic Vessels to do the task of eliminating the toxins and waste products from the breast cells.

Most people (both men AND women) do not see more than a few "real" breasts in their lives. Many are seen in magazines, movies or other entertainment fields, but they are on specially selected people (models and stars) that were selected from thousands of people, and we are led to believe that these breasts are from "average" or "perfect" people. Most 'real" breasts look quite a bit different from these few select individuals. When a person (especially an individual that is extremely conscious about their appearance and their physical development) realizes that they do not look like the people that are considered to be "perfect", they start feeling that they are "weird" or "different" from "everyone". If they would just look around any room that they may be in, and carefully look at all of the noses, they will not find any two noses that are the same. I doubt that you will find ANY nose that is very similar to another. Breasts (as well as any other body part) are the same way. They are all different. No two breasts are similar, including the two on the same person.

The purpose of my providing these images is to allow anyone that thinks that they are "different" or (gasp) "Ugly" to clearly see (after looking at just how different and varied breasts CAN be) that their breasts are not weird or strange at all. We should all be very proud of any uniqueness that we might possess. We are all beautiful. All breasts are beautiful. All noses are beautiful too.

A second important reason for these images is to help you to learn the "language" of the breast. Breasts can be indicators of many things, and the more you understand how they can change, the better you can be assured of telling the difference between something that is "normal" and a problem that needs to be brought to the attention of your doctor or health-care provider. We will discuss typical "normal" conditions of breasts so that we can recognize what is expected. If we are to be more assertive in our own healthcare, we need to understand what normal is... normal for YOU that is! Remember that you are not like ANY of the images here on this page. The breasts that you are most concerned about are different, but you may be able to see characteristics that help you to understand what "normal" is for you or your loved one.

Please be sure to understand that anything that concerns you about your breasts should be brought to the attention of your health-care provider. These images (or this website as well) is NOT intended to be used as a diagnostic tool other than to bring your attention to some matters that might escape your notice.

Views 1A through 1C:
...the following images show areolae that are approximately the same diameter, and are from slightly smaller than average to average widths. I would classify the coloration of 1A and 1B as being dark, with 1C being exceptionally dark for a fair-skinned woman, but notice that 1C has a darker skin pigmentation than 1A and 1B. This is most likely the reason her areolae are so dark. The women in these three images are somewhat chilled or sexually aroused, since they are showing heavily wrinkled areolae, prominent Montgomery's Glands, and erect nipples. It is also possible that they have these same indications when they are relaxed and warm.


Views 2A through 2C:
... the "softness" and smooth texture of the areolae on these next three images tell us that these women are warmer than those pictured above. Notice that in each of them the Montgomery's Glands are nearly unseen, and the nipples are less prominent in their size and shape. The areola in image 2A is of a medium coloration. The areola in 2B is darker, and 2C is a lot darker. The diameter of the areolae in 2A and 2B are a little wider than the average woman has, but 2C is extremely large and quite unusual. Note that it is wider than the palm of her hand. The extra width and extra darkening of the areola may be indications that this woman is either pregnant or breastfeeding currently. Note the blood vessels in 2A that are clearly visible under the skin. This could be an indication of a woman being pregnant or lactating, or she may have a very light complexion and/or thin skin. Breasts all have blood circulation like this one, but the vessels are not always visible; some become more visible during pregnancy and lactation.


Views 3A through 3C:
...in contrast to the views in 2A-C, the three following views show the areolae when they are in their erect state due to cold, sexual excitement, fear or several other causes. Minute muscles that are located just under the darker pigmented skin cause this to occur. Note that 3A shows the areola to be much more textured than the surrounding lighter-colored breast skin. Image 3B shows a different pattern from 3A but it is caused by the same type of situation as that causing 3A to occur. Also, 3C is caused the same way, but you can see that while the areolar skin is more textured than the surrounding lighter skin, the Montgomery's Glands become more prominent than those in 3A and B. All three of these nipples would be considered to be "erect"


Views 4A through 4C:
...these three views show how a prominent nipple appears. The image 4A is about the average size of a nipple. A prominent nipple stands proud of the breast most of the time, whether erect or not. The nipples in mage 4B are slightly longer length than the average woman has. The nipple in 4C is even slightly longer yet. Some women will use suction devices and nipple "jewelry" that will encourage the nipple to grow to a longer length. This is usually for cosmetic reasons. Notice that 4A and B are both Stage 5 on the Tanner scale of development, but the breast in 4C shows the obvious swollen mound under the areola that classifies it as Stage 4


Views 5a through 5C:
...while some women have prominent nipples, others may have what is referred to as flat nipples. They protrude from the breast very little, unless they become (temporarily) erect. At that time they will appear as if they are prominent, but they will return to the flat stage. Women hoping to breastfeed their children may decide against it because they have "flat" nipples, and this is a terrible mistake. Successful breastfeeding is not THAT dependent upon the nipple. When a child is breastfeeding, it has taken nearly all of the areola into their mouth and the baby's tongue presses the area behind the nipple against the roof of his/her mouth to release the milk. Babies concentrating on the nipple itself will often cause the nipple to crack and become very sore, driving many hopeful mothers away from breastfeeding after short attempts. Please note that image 5C is a little different. Refer to images 6A-C about this nipple detail.


Views 6A through 6F:
...(and also 5C) all reflect a condition referred to as an "inverted nipple". Notice that the end of the nipple actually appears to be "tucked back" into the breast. Sometimes it is severe enough that it looks like there is an opening where the nipple normally would be, similar to 5C above and 6D below. The nipples shown in 6A, 6B, and 6C are inverted to a fairly minor degree. Other than looking "different", they will still function just as well as the "standard" nipple during breastfeeding. Care should be taken to be sure that the breasts are completely emptied during each feeding session because the shape of the nipple slightly restricts the breast milk from being completely emptied. This can cause mastitis to develop in the breast. Extra care should also be taken to clean any bacteria that could gather in the dimpling of the nipple. It could provide an area that would host the growth of bacteria, encouraging mastitis.


Image 6D:
...is a close-up of a completely recessed (inverted) nipple, and it appears that there is no nipple present. This can cause some complications to milk-flow and is cosmetically unattractive. This condition will not likely grow out since it is in the fifth stage of development. Image 6E is showing slightly inverted nipples on "younger" Stage-Four breasts. These inverted nipples may very well "grow out" as these breasts still have some growing to do. They may not correct themselves however. Image 6F is also of Stage Four breasts, but the nipples are seriously inverted. These are less likely to grow out.

Images 7A through 7I:
...It has been said that no two noses are the same. It is true of breasts as well, or any other body parts. Not only will no two women have similar breasts, no woman has two breasts that are the same. It is seldom obvious to anyone but the woman herself, since she can readily notice if one breast seems to fit differently into a bra than the other one does, or she may look more critically at her reflection in a mirror. Many females that have a noticeable difference in their breast sizes become very conscious about it, which makes them assume that EVERYONE can see her "flaws". Hopefully, these images will help them to realize that MOST women do not have equal-sized breasts. While body Image is very important to us all, sometimes it can be almost TOO important to some.
The breasts in Image 7A appear to be very similar. Because the image is cropped in so closely, it is easier to see that her left breast (right side to the viewer) is slightly larger than her right breast. When checking yourself in a mirror, be sure to note the distance from the top of the shoulder to the bottom of the breast. In this case, her left shoulder and her left breast are both lower than their right counterpart, but the left shoulder-to-bottom of left breast measurement is slightly greater. There is a sizeable difference in the width of each breast, which in this case is more noticeable. The breasts in images 7B and 7C are more obviously mismatched in size (asymmetrical). The suntan lines on 7C accentuate the asymmetry, but part of it is the fact that her areola of her larger right breast is smaller than the areola her left (smaller) breast. From the brevity of the bikini top that she usually wears, it is obvious that the difference in the size of  her breasts does not keep her from being proud of her body. Since the majority of women cover their breasts in public, most people have no idea just how asymmetrical breasts actually are. Images 7D through F are even more asymmetrical then the previous images. Women that are breastfeeding can have this amount of asymmetry because of one breast being favored by the infant over the other. in that situation, the breasts will most likely return to nearly their original size after they finish their lactational duties. In many cases, however, depending on the cause of the size difference, asymmetrical breasts will remain different throughout a woman's life.


Images 7B, D, G, H and I:
show size differences that will amount to at least two whole cup-sizes. Purchasing a bra to actually fit both breasts properly becomes extremely difficult. When purchasing a bra, fit the larger breast properly, and if you are concerned about the size difference, use comfortable breast padding to give the appearance of equal-sized breasts. Fitting the 'average" size  will cause undue restriction and compression on your larger breast. It is suggested that you even reconsider the use of a bra. Image 7H shows an obvious difference in breast size, but the profile of the breasts show more fullness in the upper half of the breasts, especially her right breast. This is due to her breast tissue moving "up" toward her shoulders when she is lying back. Image E shows the freedom of movement of breast tissue also. This woman is also leaning back a little. Both of these images illustrate the change in the breast tissue location when a woman changes her angle of repose, and emphasizes the importance to do Breast Self Examinations in both the standing position as well as laying down. The density of the breast tissue will make a difference as to how much the breasts will move from their more familiar forward-facing position. Image 7I appears to be quite scary, but in fact many young women are exactly like this. This young woman's right breast is just transitioning from stage three to stage four on the Tanner Scale. Her left breast is late in the fourth stage of development. Both of her breasts will likely continue to develop, making them both somewhat larger, and they are likely to end up symmetrical in size at maturity. This is where patience, understanding, and parental support are called for.

Images 8A through 8C:
Although we grow to expect our bodies to be perfectly symmetrical, our bodies are, in fact, far from symmetrical. If you ever took a photograph of your face, removed the left side from the image, made a reversed image of the right side of your face so that you had the right side on BOTH sides of your face, you would not look anything like yourself. As stated before, breasts are also likely to be asymmetrical. I show you these differences to alleviate your concerns about your breasts being "different" from everyone else's breasts. These are images of "everyone else's", so... if you are "weird", so are a whole lot of other women. These images show how different one areola can be when compared to the other one on the same woman. While each areola can change in size due to various stimuli (especially temperature), these images are showing the differences of areolae when they are un-stimulated and at the same temperature. A difference in size of the areolae is okay, as long as it has always been that way, or gradually became that way as your breasts developed. What you should be concerned about is if one areola CHANGES, or becomes larger or smaller rather suddenly. Report ANY changes in your breasts to your doctor.


Image 8C:
is showing water from a shower hitting the woman's left breast. The water is not the reason for her left areola being larger than her right one, because the water would cause a stimulation that would make her left areola contract and become smaller. Even if the shower water is very warm water, it might cause a slight change but not as great as we can see in the image. Her left areola is most likely always larger than her right one. Other than the fact that they "do not match", unchanging asymmetrical areolae are nothing to be concerned about.

Images 9A and 9B:
...are examples of breasts that have been augmented with breast implants. These are usually silicone bags that are filled with a specific quantity of saline water or liquid silicone. Image 9A shows a small inserted image that was taken of this woman before the implants were installed. You can see that the natural profile of the breasts are now very angular. The breasts appear more like they are attached to the chest wall rather than growing out from it. The natural drooping that any adult breasts will have is missing. While the most up-to-date implants look less obvious, and clothing would of course cover any signs of an implant (except for movement differences), brief attire such as low-cut necklines and gowns and bikini bathing suits leave the tell-tale signs obvious to the viewer. The purpose of an implant is either to re-construct a missing breast or to augment an existing breast. These certainly do make the breasts larger. Surgeons must take special care to get the implants to sit as nicely and as evenly as these do, and to make the nipples be in the desired location and angle. Image 9B is another example of implants causing larger breasts. Implants can be located either behind the pectoralis major muscle or in front of it. There are advantages and disadvantages to either location.


Image 9C:
... is an example of a woman receiving a mammogram. The operator is in the back and she is using her right hand to locate the patient's left breast on the table that contains an x-ray negative. The clear plastic "paddle" that is suspended over the breast will come down, compressing the breast to a thinner profile, to get a more clear image of anything inside the breast that may be more dense then the breast tissue. A "head" for the machine is above the upper paddle and is the source of x-rays that penetrate the breast for a short few seconds, exposing the x-ray  negative in the lower table. After the exposure is completed, the pressure is released from the breast and the machine head, table and paddle are rotated about the breast. The breast is again compressed and a second view is taken. The angle of rotation can vary, but  the second view is usually taken at 90 degrees rotation from the first view. If nothing on those views indicates the need for more views, two views of each breast will usually suffice. Women under the age of 35 or 40 normally do not receive mammograms because their breast  tissue is more dense than it is when they are older, and it is extremely difficult to see a mass or calcium deposit in the x-ray picture of a dense breast. The concern about the radiation from an X-ray is a non-issue.

Images 10A through 10C:
...are examples of lactating breasts. Each image shows the "suddenly there" blue traces that result from the increased size (dilation) of the blood vessels, and they become more visible under the thinner, stretched breast skin. This is due to the extra blood required to enable the milk-producing tissues to develop for manufacturing milk. Image 10A shows obvious expansion and 'engorgement" from milk production. The women in images 10B and 10C are wearing a type of maternity or nursing bra. The cups can be opened and folded back to provide the access to her nipples to allow breastfeeding. After nursing and her nipples are allowed to air-dry, the cups are closed again. Most lactating mothers will "leak" milk during certain occasions and these bras provide the additional opportunity to retain various breast pads or nipple shields to be worn inside of them.


NOTE: Women should not plan to wear nursing bras early in pregnancy or after they wean their children. The size of the bra should be correct for the time that it is needed, and her breasts make major (though temporary) changes in their size during pregnancy as well as after they stop breastfeeding a child. There is some concern about a possible connection between breast health and the increased heat build-up inside a bra, and less massive bras would be cooler.

Images 11A through 11C:
...are also lactating breasts. As you can clearly see in image 11A, there are more than one opening (milk duct) in the nipple. You can see four separate streams. There are as many as five to twenty-five openings in the nipple. With pressure at only the top and the bottom of this breast, only a portion of the milk glands are being pressured into releasing their milk. That is why we only see four ducts flowing in this image. This procedure is called "manual expression" where milk is expressed from the breast by the use of a hand. Normally only one hand would be used to do this task. Images 11B and 11C are showing the best method of removing milk from the breast. They also show direct skin-to-skin contact between the mother and the child, which allows a closer bond and has been shown to be extremely effective in developing that bond as well as facilitating the mother to more easily initiate her "let-down reflex", which is critical in breastfeeding.


Images 12A through 12C:
...are views of two alternate methods of expressing milk from a lactating breast. Image 12A is the method that is second most effective, behind the suckling action of a baby's mouth. This is called "Manual Expression" which means the use of one's hand to express the milk. If the milk is to be retained to be fed to the child at a later date, it can be expressed into a sanitized container and stored covered in the refrigerator or freezer. Image 12B is showing the use of a single-side powered breast pump. They are offered as twin models to express both breasts at the same time, and can be hand-powered or electrically powered by batteries, automotive electrical systems, or household current. These pumps capture the milk in sterilized containers that may hold plastic sealable bags that go straight to a bottle, the refrigerator, or the freezer. Image 12C is a very inexpensive, hand-operated breast pump that operates by a suction bulb at one end, similar to a turkey baster, but it has a "dimple" in the bottom side of the glass body (barely seen in the image) that captures the milk as it exits the breast. It is periodically emptied into a sterilized container.

NOTE: Any breast pump that is chosen must be wide enough that the cup does not press against the side of the nipple. This will tend to "pinch off" the milk coming through the nipple. Wider cups can be purchased to fit most breast pumps.