Lactation is the process by which milk is synthesized and secreted from the mammary glands of the postpartum female breast in response to an infant sucking at the nipple. Breast milk provides ideal nutrition and passive immunity for the infant, encourages mild uterine contractions to return the uterus to its pre-pregnancy size i. Mammary glands are modified sweat glands.
The breasts are paired structures located on the ventral thorax. The female breast consists of 10—20 lobes that are surrounded by connective and adipose tissue. Each lobe contains milk-producing glandular structures and multiple terminal duct lobular units that form the milk duct system and drain via the major milk ducts and the lactiferous sinuses to the nipple.
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Over time, variations of mastectomy came up and started allowing the oncological safety and the possibility of an immediate breast reconstruction. Nipple sparing mastectomy NSM procedures have strongly increased in frequency and have become one of the best alternatives to treat breast cancer, also improving overall aesthetic outcomes and the achievement of contralateral breast symmetry. The nipple areola-complex NAC must be considered the identity of the breast concerning self-esteem of patients. This paper will remind the main anatomical topics around the nipple and breast ducts.
The vast majority of breast pathology is benign. Much attention is given to malignant lesions because breast cancer is the most common malignancy in women. Duct ectasia is one of the benign breast diseases; Haagenson was the first to use the term.
Mammary duct ectasia occurs when a milk duct beneath the nipple becomes wider dilated and filled with fluid. The milk duct can then become blocked or clogged with a thick, sticky substance. Mammary duct ectasia usually causes no signs or symptoms, but some women may have nipple discharge, breast tenderness or inflammation of the clogged duct.
On April 21 a Twitter user tweeted the following image, purportedly a photograph of muscles and milk ducts in breasts:. The tweet spread far and fast, perhaps not the least of which because of its ability to evoke a specific visual phobia trypophobiaa fear of small holes or repetitive patterns in some users:. What a female breast really looks like from mildlyinteresting.
Lactiferous ducts are those ducts that converge and form a branched system connecting the nipple to the lobules of the mammary gland. When lactogenesis occurs, under the influence of hormones, the milk is moved to the nipple by the action of smooth muscle contractions along the ductal system to the tip of the nipple. They are also referred to as galactophoresgalactophorous ductsmammary ductsmamillary ducts or milk ducts. Lactiferous ducts are lined by a columnar epithelium supported by myoepithelial cells.