What Is Symmastia?
Symmastia is a term used to describe a medical condition wherein breasts grow together, with little or no cleavage between them. Instead of a space, there is instead skin, fat or breast tissue.
What causes symmastia?
There are several causes of symmastia, depending on which type you have.
A person who has congenital symmastia was born with a uni-boob. This condition is rare. It is unclear what causes congenital symmastia.
Acquired or iatrogenic symmastia
While also rare, acquired symmastia is much more common than congenital symmastia.
Iatrogenic symmastia is usually a complication of breast reconstruction or breast augmentation surgery. This type of symmastia can also happen if breast implants are placed too close together during breast surgery.
In a few cases, symmastia resulted from an accidental cut made by the surgeon during plastic surgery. Your breast does not have a natural space to hold implants. As such, surgeons have to create a pocket to fit one or both implants. If the cut is too big, the two pockets can join together to form one open space.
Uniboob or Symmastia correction
How common is symmastia?
According to the Office of Rare Diseases (ORD) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), congenital symmastia is a "rare disease." This means it occurs in less than 200,000 people.
Difference between Symmastia and Breast implant malposition?
Breast implant malposition occurs when the breast implants are not placed in the correct position, either during or after breast surgery. Implant malposition can cause an unnatural look or feel. Breast implant malposition can cause symmastia.
However, other positioning issues can also manifest over time.
Symptoms of Implant Malposition
The most commonly reported physical and mental symptoms of Breast Implant Malposition include:
- Chronic fatigue
- Chronic headaches
- Joint and muscle pain
- Respiratory difficulties
- Hair loss
- Frequent skin rashes
- Poor memory and concentration
- Chronic dry mouth and eyes
- Depression or insomnia
In some cases, people with symmastia have reported unexplained chest pain, chills and sensitivity to light.
Causes of Implant Malposition
Implant malposition can be caused by:
This happens when scar tissue squeezes the breast implant out of place
Any type of major injury, such as a blow to the chest or a vehicular accident can damage the pocket where the implant is placed and cause it to move.
The surgeon made a wrong cut or placed the implant in the pocket incorrectly.
Implant malposition can occur if the implant used in the surgical procedure is too large
Types of Implant Malposition
Apart from symmastia, there are three other types of breast implant malposition.
Superior (High Malposition)
Inferior (Low Malposition)
High implant malposition is the most common type of malposition. When the breast implant is too high, there will be too much volume above the nipple but not enough below it. The bottom part of the breast will be empty, leading the nipple to point downwards.
In many cases, the breast will appear "high" soon after surgery but will "settle" into the correct position days into the recovery. However, if the breasts are still high after healing is completed, a patient may need to undergo revision surgery.
High malposition can also occur if the patient wears an underwire bra instead of a compression bra during recovery.
Lateral breast implant malposition occurs when the implant shifts to the sides of the body. This creates a large gap across the cleavage area. Lateral malposition happens when the implant pocket was poorly created or the breast tissue cannot fully support the implant.
How can Symmastia be corrected?
The only treatment for symmastia is corrective surgery. However, the type of symmastia repair surgery you need depends on the type of uni-boob you have.
It is very complicated to treat congenital symmastia. As the disease itself is very rare, there are few case reports that doctors can review. Additionally, surgeons cannot perform breast reconstruction surgery on patients with congenital symmastia. This is because the problem is not the size of the breasts but the structure of the chest.
Doctors advise patients with congenital symmastia to put off surgery until their breasts have reached maturity and they have a fairly stable weight.
Congenital symmastia can sometimes be treated with a combination of techniques. This may include liposuction, skin fixation and postoperative intermammary compression.
In some cases, symmastia can be fired through surgical resection accompanied by liposuction.
Iatrogenic symmastia can be corrected through corrective surgery. The technique used by the surgeon will vary, depending on the position of the breast implants and scar tissue.
In most cases, surgery will involve removing scar tissue and repositioning the implant. The surgeon will also use permanent internal sutures to help the breast and implants in the proper position and prevent more complications.
As with any other surgery, the breast reconstruction procedure carries a risk of complications, including asymmetrical breasts, irregularities and scarring.