Breast


Image Caption : Breast Anatomy : Structures of the healthy breast are visible in a Breast MRI: Nipple, Breast Tissue, Fat, Suspensory Ligaments, Ducts, Chest Wall Muscle, Ribs

BREAST ANATOMY

The breasts of an adult woman are milk-producing, tear-shaped glands. They are supported by and attached to the front of the chest wall on either side of the breast bone or sternum by ligaments. They rest on the major chest muscle, the pectoralis major.

The breast has no muscle tissue. A layer of fat surrounds the glands and extends throughout the breast.

Illustration of the components of the breast

The breast is responsive to a complex interplay of hormones that cause the tissue to develop, enlarge and produce milk. The three major hormones affecting the breast are estrogen, progesterone and prolactin, which cause glandular tissue in the breast and the uterus to change during the menstrual cycle.

Each breast contains 15 to 20 lobes arranged in a circular fashion. The fat (subcutaneous adipose tissue) that covers the lobes gives the breast its size and shape. Each lobe is comprised of many lobules, at the end of which are tiny bulb like glands, or sacs, where milk is produced in response to hormonal signals.

Ducts connect the lobes, lobules, and glands in nursing mothers. These ducts deliver milk to openings in the nipple. The areola is the darker-pigmented area
around the nipple.

REVIEW: BREAST ANATOMY

Here is what we have learned from
Breast Anatomy:

  • The breasts of an adult woman are milk-producing, tear-shaped glands.
  • A layer of fatty tissue surrounds the breast glands and extends throughout the breast, which gives the breast a soft consistency and gentle, flowing contour.
  • The breast is responsive to a complex interplay of hormones that cause the breast tissue to develop, enlarge and produce milk.
  • Each breast contains 15 to 20 lobes arranged in a circular fashion.
  • Each lobe is comprised of many lobules, at the end of which are tiny bulblike glands, or sacs, where milk is produced in response to hormonal signals.
  • Ducts connect the lobes, lobules, and glands; in nursing mothers, these ducts deliver milk to openings in the nipple.
  • Breast tissue is drained by lymphatic vessels that lead to axillary nodes (which lie in the axilla) and internal mammary nodes (which lie along each side of the sternum).

National Cancer Institute / NIH



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