c l i n i c a l f o l i o s : n a r r a t i v e





A D V E R T I S E M E N T

 

Breast Anatomy: 4

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

   
 

Running through the breasts are fibrous bands (suspensory ligaments) connecting the pectoral fascia to the skin. A growth within the breast tissue can pull on these suspensory ligaments and cause dimpling of the skin or retraction of the nipple. Laxity of the ligaments with age allows sagging (ptosis) of the breast.      

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Breast Anatomy: 5

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

   
 

The glands of the breast produce milk during lactation. Clusters of glands called lobules are embedded within the fatty tissue. The lobules drain via small ducts into a larger single duct which ends at the nipple.       

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Breast Anatomy: 6

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

   
 

A complex of lobules leading into a single duct is called a lobe. Each breast contains 15-20 such lobes, each with a corresponding duct opening at the nipple. The most dense concentration of glands and ducts is in the upper-outer quadrant of each breast. When he glandular tissue extends toward the axilla it is called the axillary tail of the breast. Since most breast cancers arise from the ducts, it is understandable why the majority of breast cancers are found in the upper outer quadrants. Early growth of a breast cancer tends to stay within a lobe, leading some to advocate segmental breast resection.     

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This page was last modified on 7/6/1999.