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THE BREAST The breasts are paired mammary glands that lie over the muscles of the anterior

chest walls, anterior to pectoralis major and sarratus anterior muscles. Depending on the size and shape the breast extends vertically from second to sixth rib and horizontally from the sternum to midaxillary line. The breast is divided into four quadrants by drawing horizontal and vertical imaginary lines that intersect at the nipple. The upper outer quadrant which extends into axillary area is referred to as the tail of sequence.

THE FEMALE BREAST The female breast is an accessory reproductive organ which has two functions: to produce and store milk, which provides nourishment for newborns and to aid in sexual stimulation. The skin of the beasts is smooth and varies in colour depending on the clients skin tone. The female breasts consist of three types of tissues which include: Glandular Fibrous Fatty or Adipose tissue

Figure 1. Anatomy of the Female Breast (MayoClinic, 2011)

FEMALE BREAST ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY The female breast is a complex structure; it includes, mammary glands, arteries and veins, fat and connective tissue, as well as and lymph nodes, lobes, lobules and ducts. Mammary glands contain the milk-producing cells. These glands are hormone dependent, and enlarge monthly with the menstrual cycle and during pregnancy. The breast has thin, fragile arteries and veins that allow circulation of oxygen and nutrients through the tissues, as well as nerves that provide information about touch and pain. Each breast has a number of sections (lobules) that branch out from the nipple. Each lobule holds tiny, hollow sacs called alveoli. The lobules are linked by a network of thin tubes called ducts. Ducts also, carry milk from the alveoli toward the dark area of skin in the center of the breast (areola) in breast feeding mothers. From the areola, the ducts join together into larger ducts ending at the nipple. There are spaces around the lobules and ducts are filled with fat, suspensory ligaments and connective tissue. This supports the breast and gives it shape. The breast has no muscle tissue. Muscles lie underneath the breasts, however, separating them from your ribs. The breast lies on top of a muscle called the pectoralis major, or the pec. The lymphatic system is a network of lymph nodes and lymph ducts that helps fight infection. Lymph nodes can be found under the armpit or axilla, above the collarbone, behind the breastbone and in other parts of the body. Harmful substances that may be in the lymph nodes drain into the lymph vessels and is safely drained from the body.