Breast Abnormalities


Breast abnormalities occur when a girl’s breasts fail to develop normally, or when other health issues arise in the breasts.

Breast abnormalities may be present at birth (congenital), or they may occur during puberty as a girl’s breasts begin developing, generally between the ages of 8 and 13.

Patients can be seen by Texas Children's experts in Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology.

Causes & Risk Factors

Possible causes include:

  • Development processes
  • Genetics
  • Infections
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Underlying health issues

Symptoms & Types

Masses or cysts

  • Breast abscess
  • Breasts that are significantly of different sizes– especially in the early stages of breast development
  • Inverted nipples (pointing inward)
  • Missing breast or nipple
  • Extra breast or nipple
  • Excessively large breasts
  • Underdeveloped or undeveloped breasts
  • Lack of areola pigmentation (the skin around the nipple)

Diagnosis & Tests

Diagnosis starts with a detailed medical history and a thorough physical exam, including a breast exam.

Diagnostic testing may include:

  • Blood tests
  • Imaging – to assess any masses
  • Biopsy – removal of a small tissue sample for examination under a microscope

Treatment & Care

Treatment depends on the individual patient and the type of breast abnormality.

Treatment strategies may include:

  • Surgery – to remove a mass; most breast masses in adolescent girls are not cancerous
  • Antibiotics – to treat infections
  • Reconstructive surgery – to correct breast deformities
  • Counseling – to help young women and their families deal with negative body image issues