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Research published in the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery journal shows that young women who have asymmetrical or uneven breasts may experience negative emotional and mental effects. Although it is normal for some girls to have slight differences in shape, size or position of their breasts, some women have substantial differences in their breasts that could affect their self-esteem, physical, emotional and social functioning, as well as their attitudes and behaviors. The problem often affects adolescents, but the strong feelings maybe carried on to adulthood.

Breast asymmetry occurs when the volume, size, shape or position of one breast is different from the other. Breasts may also vary in skin tightness, so that one appears firmer than the other, but deformities in the chest bone may also affect the position one breast. The appearance and location of the nipples may also vary.

What Causes Breast Asymmetry?

Breast tissue changes are affected by the menstrual cycle. Your breasts may feel fuller and more sensitive around the time of ovulation, when water retention and increased blood flow are expected. The breasts usually shrink to their usual size during menstruation.

The exact cause is unknown, but developmental differences, hormonal changes, injuries, and certain skeletal or medical conditions may cause breast asymmetry. One condition, called juvenile or virginal hypertrophy of the breast, causes one breast to grow significantly larger than the other. Scoliosis or deformities of the spine or chest wall may also affect the position and symmetry of the breasts. Other causes include breast surgery and complications from breast augmentation surgery.

Some studies suggest that women who have asymmetrical breasts have an increased risk of developing breast cancer. However, having asymmetrical breasts does not necessarily mean that you will have cancer. In fact, studies show that very few women actually have perfectly symmetrical breasts. Further studies have to be done to confirm if there is an association between breast asymmetry and risk for breast cancer. However, experts advise women to consult their doctors if they notice a sudden or progressive change in the symmetry of their breasts.

Is Breast Surgery Necessary?

Before deciding to have breast surgery for asymmetrical breasts, consider counseling from a doctor or psychologist who can really help you sort out your feelings and help you learn to accept your body. A doctor can also evaluate whether you really need surgery. Surgery itself can pose unnecessary risks on your health and appearance, especially if the procedure is not necessary in the first place. Many cases of asymmetrical breasts are a result of breast enlargement surgery, which causes uneven breasts because of post-operative complications, poor surgical technique, and inadequate aftercare. Breast reduction surgery and breast lifts can also cause breast asymmetry.

Doctors can evaluate the symmetry of your breasts by using mammography or laser scanning techniques. If the asymmetry causes significant emotional distress, your doctor may recommend surgery. Some experts recommend getting a breast reduction, rather than getting implants because studies have shown that women with asymmetrical breasts who undergo breast reduction surgery are generally more satisfied with the results than those who get implants.

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