Review| Volume 65, ISSUE 12, P1607-1613, December 2012

Congenital symmastia revisited

Published:October 01, 2012DOI:



      Symmastia is defined as medial confluence of the breast. The term ‘symmastia’ is modified from Greek (syn meaning ‘together’, and mastos meaning ‘breast’) and was first presented by Spence et al. in 1983. Two forms of symmastia exist: an iatrogenic and a congenital version. Congenital symmastia is a rare condition in which web-like soft tissue traverses the sternum to connect the breasts medially. The literature on congenital symmastia is limited, few cases have been published, and knowledge about ideal treatment is still insufficient.

      Material and methods

      Congenital symmastia was identified as a distinct deformation using a review of the literature and a theoretical model. We analysed the malady using a three-step principle, formulated by Blondeel, which describes the breast as a ‘footprint’, ‘conus’ and ‘skin-envelope’. To date, few papers on congenital symmastia have been published, most of which focus on the application of various surgical approaches. We examined the literature and evaluated the procedures used, and are presenting two recent cases of congenital symmastia as examples. By combining review and analysis we offer a rational treatment practice.


      The analysis showed that the optimal treatment begins by correcting the ‘footprint’, removing the excess ‘conus’ over the sternum, and finally reattaching the ‘skin-envelope’ to the sternum to recreate the normal medial border of the ‘footprint’. Thus far, the two most common approaches used to treat congenital symmastia are: reduction mammaplasty and liposuction.


      By combining the Blondeel analysis with a procedural review, we developed a flow chart to offer a possible treatment practice.


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