Should I be worried about the extra breast tissue in my armpit?

Mummy asks, "I recently gave birth and I am currently breastfeeding. I noticed that I have an extra breast tissue in the armpit. Should I be worried?"

Extra breast tissue is also known as accessory breast, where you have an extra breast or pairs of breast in the lower armpit.

Accessory breast tissue is a common and occurs in about 1-6 percent of women. It can occur in males too.

What causes extra breast tissue? 

It all starts even before you are born. Breast development begins around week four of pregnancy, with two parallel lines of tissue called the milk line extending from slightly beyond your armpits, down to the the inner sides of your thighs.

Breasts eventually develop from these lines of tissue, and the remaining tissue regresses. Occasionally, there is an incomplete regression during embryo development, and extra breast tissue forms. The formation usually occurs along this line.

What does extra breast tissue look like?

Accessory breast tissue can appear as a complete breast if there is also a nipple and an areola. If it is just breast tissue without a nipple or areola, it may appear as a lump or swelling under the skin.

Often, accessory breast tissue goes unnoticed until hormonal changes make it more apparent. Sometimes a new mum will not know she has accessory breast tissue until she notices milk dripping from a pore in the skin.

Will extra breast tissue cause me trouble?

Your accessory breast tissue has the potential for the same problems as any other breast tissue, including inflammation, mastitis, cysts and more. Your accessory breast tissue can also become engorged at the beginning of lactation, and may leak milk. The extra breast tissue does not typically produce much milk, and does not interfere with breastfeeding.

Your extra breast tissue can be surgically removed, but this is not necessary unless it is causing problems. Some people do have accessory breast tissue removed for cosmetic reasons.

If you feel awkward about your extra breast tissue, or if it hurts, do speak to your gynae about your options.

Need Help? Don't fret!

When in doubt, please refer to a lactation consultant, who can offer you more personalised advice according to you and your baby's situation.

theAsianparent also has a Singapore Breastfeeding Mums Support Group that you can join for mum-to-mum advice.
Extra breast tissue