Gigantomastia is a rare condition where your breasts become excessively large. It can cause pain, infection, discomfort and issues with body image. Your healthcare provider can treat gigantomastia with breast reduction surgery or medication.
Gigantomastia or breast hypertrophy is a rare condition that involves developing extremely large breasts due to excessive breast tissue growth. It affects people assigned female at birth. If you have gigantomastia, you’ll experience rapid and disproportionate breast growth. The speed at which your breasts grow can vary, from over a few weeks to over several years. The tissue is almost always benign (not cancerous).
Gigantomastia is characterized by:
It can happen during puberty, pregnancy or from taking medication. In some cases, it occurs spontaneously and for no reason.
Gigantomastia is also referred to as macromastia. However, macromastia is usually defined as excess breast tissue that weighs less than 5 pounds.
Healthcare providers classify gigantomastia into four types:
It's an uncommon condition. Only about 300 cases have been reported.
Having extremely large breasts can be both physically and emotionally painful. Some of the most common symptoms of breast hypertrophy are:
The cause of gigantomastia isn't entirely known; however, researchers think it may be influenced by:
Your healthcare provider will examine you and ask questions about your medical history. They will need to know how your breast size has changed, other symptoms you have, or if you're taking any medications. Further testing is usually not needed to confirm the diagnosis.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all treatment for gigantomastia. You and your healthcare provider should discuss all the treatment options and weigh the risks and benefits of each.
Depending on the severity of your symptoms and the size of your breasts, your healthcare provider may recommend breast reduction surgery or medication to treat gigantomastia. In cases of recurring or severe gigantomastia, your healthcare provider may recommend a mastectomy.
Certain medications may stop the breast tissue from growing. Your healthcare provider may prescribe one of the following medications:
Sometimes this is all that is needed to reduce the growth of breast tissue. In other cases, it needs to be combined with breast reduction surgery.
Breast reduction surgery can treat gigantomastia. A surgeon makes an incision in your breasts and removes excess fat, tissue and skin. Once the desired breast size is reached, they will close the incision with stitches. Your nipple or areola may need repositioning to align with the new size and shape of your breasts. The surgery takes a few hours, and you may need to stay in the hospital overnight.
A mastectomy may be recommended in severe or recurrent cases of gigantomastia. This is where a surgeon removes your entire breast. Mastectomies carry risks and should be discussed with your healthcare provider.
You should expect some mild pain, swelling and bruising the first few days after breast reduction surgery. Your healthcare provider may prescribe antibiotics to prevent infection and pain relievers to help with discomfort. A follow-up appointment is scheduled to examine the breasts and remove any stitches. Most people recover and resume light activities in about a week. Your breasts will take their final shape and size once the swelling is gone. A small scar may be visible, but most surgeons will try to minimize any scarring.
If you have to have a mastectomy, your recovery can take up to one month. The exact recovery time varies depending on your age, medical conditions and other factors.
Gigantomastia can cause problems such as:
In addition to these physical symptoms, extremely large breasts can lead to emotional and social issues like depression, anxiety or poor body image.
Gigantomastia can cause issues such as poor fetal growth, mastitis or low milk supply in those who are pregnant.
There's nothing you can do to reduce your risk of developing gigantomastia. Researchers are not entirely sure what causes it.
Gigantomastia doesn't usually cause any serious complications. Depending on how severe your gigantomastia is, your symptoms can make daily life painful and uncomfortable. Talk to your healthcare provider about ways to reduce your symptoms or if breast reduction surgery is needed.
Yes, it can be challenging to breastfeed if you have gigantomastia. Certain complications of breast hypertrophy like breast infections, blisters or sores, low milk supply and pain can cause problems with breastfeeding.
Talk to your healthcare provider if you are experiencing any symptoms associated with gigantomastia. You shouldn't need to live with pain, discomfort and frustration from excessively large breasts. They may recommend surgery or medication to reduce the size of your breasts.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Gigantomastia can be a physically and emotionally devastating condition. If you suffer from extremely large breasts, there are treatments that can relieve your pain. Be open and honest with your healthcare provider about your symptoms and what you are feeling. Together you can make the best decision on how to treat gigantomastia so that you can live more comfortably.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 06/03/2022.
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