March 3, 2008

Breast Anatomy & Development

Posted in Category : Women's Health

It is very important for a woman to have knowledge about the normal anatomy of their breasts. Familiarity with breast anatomy will be helpful in recognizing early signs of potential disorders. Breast anatomy is highly complex. Producing milk for sustenance of the offspring is the main function of breasts.

Breasts are made up of glandular, fibrous and fatty tissues. The fatty tissues are what render softness to breasts. Breasts are positioned over the pectoral muscles of the chest wall. These tissues contain glands that are responsible for production of milk after child birth. These milk producing glands are called lobules and the milk passages are called ducts. These glandular tissues house the ducts and lobes. Each duct widens towards the nipple to form a sack. During lactation bulbs at the ends of lobules produce milk which is then transferred through ducts towards the nipple. The breast also has an areola which is a brown or pink pigmented region that surrounds the nipple.

Oxygen rich blood is carried by arteries from heart to chest wall and the deoxygenated blood is taken back by the veins and the breast to the heart. The axillary artery supplies outer half of breast with blood. Internal mammary artery supplies inner portion of breast.

Breast Development

Female breasts do not start to grow until puberty. Breast tissues begin to develop in sixth week of a woman fetal life. Initially breast tissues develop along lines of armpits and extend to groin. By ninth week it goes back to chest area. Specifically production of progesterone and estrogen indicate development of glandular breast tissue. Breasts begin to respond to hormonal changes that take place in the body. Initial growth of breast may be agonizing for some girls. During this time fibrous and fat breast tissues become more elastic.