In some women with implants, it may look like their breasts are fused together, with no indent in between the tissues of each breast. This is called “symmastia,” and it is one of the least-common complications of breast augmentation.
What Causes Symmastia?
Symmastia (called informally “uniboob” or “breadloafing”) results when the plastic surgeon over-dissects the tissue between the implants, causing the implants to slowly migrate to the center of the chest and even touch. Symmastia only occurs in women with under-the-muscle implant placement, and is more likely to occur in women with a congenital chestwall deformity where the breastbone is depressed inwards, making the implants more likely to slide.
When a surgeon places an implant under the muscle, he or she must cut the muscle. Sometimes the surgeon cuts too much on accident, and other times the surgeon is attempting to make the implants sit closer together and create cleavage. Either way creates a chance of symmastia-if a woman really wants more cleavage than she’ll naturally have without the surgeon cutting into more muscle than necessary, she can achieve the look safely and without a risk of future surgery with a push-up bra.
Is Symmastia Correctable?
A board-certified plastic surgeon will likely be able to correct symmastia, but it will require at least one additional surgery and possibly two. After diagnosing you with symmastia, the surgeon will have to reattach the cut tissues to your breastbone with permanent internal sutures. Sutures will also be placed in the pocket where the implant sits, to create a barrier and keep the implant from migrating inwards again.
Many surgeons will require that the implants be removed for at least twelve weeks, giving the internal breastbone sutures time to heal and necessitating a second surgery to replace the implants.
What Are My Risks of Symmastia?
As long as you don’t ask your surgeon to cut extra muscle to create cleavage, you are at a low risk for symmastia. In fact, the Office of Rare Diseases officially lists symmastia as a rare condition, which means that it affects less than 200,000 people.
Your chances for symmastia are slim, but know that most insurance does not cover breast augmentation revision surgeries, and so you will likely be paying out of pocket if you do need correctional surgery.
“Prevalence and Incidence of Symmastia,” WrongDiagnosis.com
“Symmastia Overview,” JustBreastImplants.com