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Breast Health Glossary of Terms

Understanding your breasts and how to keep them healthy requires knowing the language.

Conditions & Treatments

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | K | L | M | N | O | P | R | S | T | U | V | X


Affordable Care Act (ACA) – The health care law enacted in March 2010, also known as "Obamacare," that makes health insurance available to more people and requires that health plans cover pre-existing conditions and provide free preventive care, among other requirements.

Allograft – Tissue that is transplanted from one person to another. In breast reconstruction, surgeons sometimes use allografts to assist with the tissue expander that makes room for the breast implant, to create a kind of pocket that holds the implant in place or for added skin coverage over the implant.

Anesthesia – Medication that produces a loss of sensation (such as pain) or awareness during surgery.

Archetype Breasts – Breasts that are full and round with a small point at the nipple; the most common shape for women's breasts.

Areola – The pink/brown circle of skin around the nipple

Asymmetrical Breasts – Breasts of two different sizes, which is quite common.

Asymmetry – A common and perfectly normal state where one breast is larger than the other.

Athletic Breasts – Breasts that are wider, with more muscle and less breast tissue.

Augmentation Mammaplasty – Breast enlargement or breast enhancement by surgery.

Autograft – Tissue that is transplanted from one spot on a person's body to another on a patient's body.

Autoimmune Disease – An illness that causes the immune system to produce antibodies that attack healthy cells in the body by mistake. Examples include lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Autoimmune diseases are more common in women than in men.

Axillary – Relating to the armpit.

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Band Size – A part of bra measurement; the inches around the chest directly beneath the breasts plus 4 inches if the number is even or 5 inches if the number is odd.

Bell Shaped Breasts – Breasts that are narrow on top and rounder on the bottom like a bell.

Benign – Not cancerous. A benign tumor does not invade surrounding tissue or spread to other parts of the body.

Biopsy – A sample of tissue taken to examine more closely.

Blood Tumor Marker Test – A test that measures chemicals made by the tumor cells, which can be detected in the blood.

Boob Job – A non-medical term for breast augmentation, a surgery that increases breast size.

Bone Scan – This imaging shows all the bones of the body at the same time and can find small areas of cancer that have spread to the bones and are not seen on x-rays.

Bra Size Determined by subtracting the band size (the space around the chest directly beneath the breasts) from the bust measurement (the fullest part of the bust) and described as a letter (AA, A, B, C, D, DD, and so on).

Breasts – Also known as mammary glands, two soft, rounded parts of a woman's chest made of specialized tissue that produces milk after a woman gives birth. Both women and men have breasts and nipples. The difference is that men's breasts do not have the tissue that produces milk.

Breast Augmentation – A type of surgery that increases breast size and achieves a more rounded breast shape. Also referred to as a "boob job" or mammaplasty.

Breast Cancer – A type of cancer that starts in the breast and is the most common cancer in U.S. women, except for skin cancers. There are many different types of breast cancer based on where the tumor starts in the breast tissue and whether the cancer has spread or not.

Breast Implants – Medical devices placed in the body to increase breast size or to reconstruct the breast. Breast implants fall into two categories: saline breast implants and silicone breast implants.

Breast Implant Illness (BII)A term used by women to describe a cluster of symptoms – fatigue, memory loss, rash, photosensitivity, chronic pain, sleep disturbances and other problems – reported by some women who received breast implants for breast augmentation. Scientists are investigating the range of symptoms to better understand their origins.

Breast Implant Associated Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) – An uncommon type of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that can develop around breast implants. BIA-ALCL is not a cancer of the breast tissue, but a slow-growing cancer of the lymph system that when caught early, can be cured in most women.

Breast Lift – A type of surgery that raises the breasts and tightens the surrounding tissue to restore the breasts to a perkier, more youthful shape. It is a popular surgical option for women who have sagging breasts due to a significant weight loss, pregnancy and breastfeeding, or menopause. Also called augmentation mastopexy.

Breast LumpsUsually harmless noncancerous tissue often directly related to the menstrual cycle, changes in hormones and the fluid buildup that comes with the monthly period. Breast lumps vary in size from smaller than a pea to several inches across.

Breast Reconstruction – One or a series of surgeries that reconstruct one or both breasts during or after mastectomy, and in some cases, lumpectomy.

Breast Reduction – Surgery to remove excess breast fat, glandular tissue, and skin so the breast size is more in proportion with the body. Also called reduction mammaplasty.

Breast Rejuvenation – Another name for a breast lift.

Breast Self-Exam (CBE) – A routine check-up a woman does at home as a screening method to detect early breast cancer. The method involves looking at and feeling each breast for possible lumps, distortions, or swelling. Performed at any age from puberty onwards, breast self-exams are considered part of a woman's overall breast cancer screening strategy.

BRCA – Two genes (BRCA1 and BRCA2) that act normally to keep the cells in the breast from growing and dividing too rapidly. However, when a woman inherits certain mutations in either gene, she has a higher risk of getting breast and other types of cancer.

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Capsule – Naturally occurring protective tissue the body forms around an object it considers foreign. In the case of breast implants, the body forms a sac, or capsule of scar tissue around the implant, to seal it off. Usually, the capsule is soft or slightly firm and not noticeable and helps to keep the implant in place. However, in some situations, the tissue capsule can become unusually hard and dense, leading to a condition called capsular contracture.

Capsular Contracture – A complication of breast implant surgery where the scar tissue around the implant becomes unusually hard and starts to contract or thicken, squeezing the implant. While capsular contracture can be barely noticeable, the condition can cause chronic pain, a distortion of the shape of the breast or hardening of the breast and be severe enough to require surgery that removes the stiffened capsule.

Cellulitis– An infection of the skin caused by bacteria. As it applies to the breast, cellulitis usually affects the lower half of the breast where sweat and bacteria tend to build up. The skin becomes red, warm, and tender and the infection can cause flu-like symptoms such as fever and chills. Breast cellulitis can occur following surgery or radiation therapy for breast cancer.

Chemotherapy – Drug treatment that uses powerful chemicals to kill fast-growing cells in the body. Chemotherapy is most often used to treat cancer, since cancer cells grow and multiply much more quickly than most cells in the body.

Clinical Breast Exam– A yearly visit covered by insurance where a trained health provider carefully feels the breasts, underarm and the area just below the breastbone for any changes, such as a lump.

Clinical Trials – Studies involving people that allow researchers to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of medications or medical devices.

Close Set Breasts – Breasts close to the center of the chest with a small gap between them.

Complication– An unexpected problem that results from a procedure, treatment, or illness. The problem is called a complication because it complicates the treatment or recovery.

Conical Breasts – Breasts that are shaped like cones instead of being round, which is common for smaller breasts.

Connective Tissue – The tissue that connects, separates, and supports all other types of tissues in the body.

CT (computed tomography) Scan – A test using x-rays taken from different angles
most often used to look at the chest and/or abdomen.

Cup Size – The measurement of the fullest part of the bust, rounded to the nearest inch. Each inch of difference is one cup size described as a letter starting with the letter A. For example, if your bust measures 34 inches and your band size is 33, the difference is one inch or an A cup. A 2-inch difference represents a B cup, a 3-inch difference is a C cup and a 4-inch difference is a D cup. After that, differences in inches are measured as DD/E, DDD/F and above.

Cyst – Usually a noncancerous closed capsule with a sac-like structure that can contain fluid, pus, or gas and can occur anywhere on the body. Breast cysts are often painful and may be noticeable during a breast examination.

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Dense Breasts – A term used to describe breast tissue that has large areas of fibrous, glandular, and not much fatty tissue. Women with dense breasts have a higher chance of getting breast cancer.

Diagnosis – The identification of a disease or illness from its sign, symptoms, and tests.

DIEP FlapA tissue flap procedure known as the deep inferior epigastric perforator flap, which uses tissue from the abdomen for breast reconstruction.

Diethylstilbestrol (DES) – A synthetic form of the hormone prescribed to pregnant women between about 1940 and 1971 to prevent miscarriages. DES is known to increase the risk of breast and other cancers in women who took the drug and in daughters exposed to DES before birth.

Donor Site – An area of the body where the surgeon harvests skin, fat, and muscle to reconstruct the breast – commonly located in less exposed areas of the body such as the back, abdomen, or buttocks.

DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) – The hereditary material in humans and almost all other organisms.

Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS) – An early stage breast cancer that starts in a milk duct and has not spread into the rest of the breast tissue. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), one in five new breast cancers are "ductal carcinoma in situ" or DCIS.

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East-West Breasts – Breast shape where the nipples point outward, away from the center of the body.

Estrogen– The female hormone produced mainly in the ovaries that helps control and guide sexual development, influences the monthly menstrual cycle and lactation after pregnancy, and affects the aging process.

Estrogen Receptor Positive (ER+) – Special proteins inside breast cancer cells called "hormone receptors" that need estrogen to grow. An estimated 80 percent of all breast cancers are estrogen-receptor positive (ER+) and can be treated with hormone therapy.

Excision – A procedure to remove skin.

Explant Surgery – An operation to remove a breast implant from a woman's chest area.

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Family History – Information about diseases in family members that identifies problems or illnesses. Knowing family history can be valuable for disease diagnosis and treatment.

Fat Grafting – A surgical technique that transfers fat obtained by liposuction to enhance breast reconstruction by adding volume under the skin.

Fat Necrosis – A lump of dead or damaged breast tissue that sometimes appears after breast surgery, trauma, or radiation.

Fatty Tissue – Fills the space between the fibrous tissue, lobes, and ducts in the breast. Fatty tissue gives the breasts their size and shape.

Flap Procedures – A tissue flap procedure using skin and soft tissue flaps from the tummy, back, thighs, buttocks, and other parts of the body to create a mound to reconstruct the breast. Also known as autologous tissue reconstruction.

Fibrous Tissue – Holds the breast tissue in place.

Fibrocystic Breasts – A common noncancerous condition, believed to be caused by rising and falling levels of hormones, especially estrogen, during the menstrual cycle. Fibrocystic breasts can cause pain, cysts, and lumps in the breast, which suddenly appear and go away.

First Degree Relative – A person's parent, full sibling or child. If the persons are related by blood, the first-degree relatives share approximately 50% of their genes.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – The agency of the U.S. government that regulates food, drugs, animal food, cosmetics, dietary supplements, biological goods, blood products, and medical devices.

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GAP Flap – A tissue flap procedure known as the gluteal artery perforator flap that uses tissue from the buttocks for breast reconstruction.

Gene – Made up of a substance called deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, and carries the information that makes you who you are and what you look like.

Genetic Testing – A type of medical test that identifies changes in chromosomes, genes, or proteins. The results of a genetic test can confirm or rule out a suspected genetic condition or help determine a person's chance of developing or passing on a genetic disorder.

Genomic Testing – These tests look at the genes in breast cancer to determine what causes the cancer to grow and how the cancer may respond to different therapies.

Glandular Tissue – The part of the breast that makes milk, called the lobes, and the tubes that carry milk to the nipple, called ducts.

Grade – When considering options for breast cancer surgery, the grade of the cancer is one factor and refers to how abnormal the cells look under a microscope.

Guidelines – Recommendations for health providers about the care of people with specific conditions or to prevent specific conditions. Guidelines are based upon the best available research and medical practice.

Gummy Bear Breast Implants – Implants pre-filled with an extra thick silicone gel that sticks together, is firm, and has a consistency like the gummy bear candy. Gummy bear implants keep their shape even if the implant shell is broken. Officially known as stable implants.

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HER2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2) – A gene that can play a role in the development of breast cancer. The HER2 gene makes HER2 proteins, receptors on breast cells that help control how a healthy breast cell grows, divides, and repairs itself. In about 20 percent of breast cancers, the HER2 gene does not work correctly and makes too many copies of itself, which makes breast cells grow and divide in an uncontrolled way.

HER2 Positive or Negative – Types of breast cancers that are either positive or negative for the HER2 protein. HER2-positive breast cancers tend to grow faster and are more likely to spread and come back; HER2-negative breast cancers have little or no HER2 protein and are less likely to spread to other parts of the body.

Hereditary Breast Cancer – A type of breast cancer that is an inherited genetic condition. This means the cancer risk is passed from generation to generation in a family.

Hormone – Substances that help regulate many processes of the body, such as growth and reproduction, and fluctuate throughout a person's life. In women, the hormones estrogen and progesterone regulate the menstrual cycle and are responsible for growth and changes in the breasts at every stage of life.

Hormone Receptor (HR) – Proteins in or on breast cancer cells that attach to estrogen or progesterone, causing the cells to depend on these hormones for growth.

Hormone Receptor Positive (HR+) – Those breast cancers where tumor growth is fueled by estrogen and/or progesterone attached to hormone receptors.

Hormone Receptor Negative(HR-) – Cancer cells that do not have hormone receptors and will not be affected by treatments aimed at blocking estrogen or progesterone.

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) – Treatment given to women after menopause to replace the hormones estrogen and progesterone that are no longer made by the body.

Hormone Therapy – An effective drug treatment for estrogen receptor-positive (ER-positive) metastatic breast cancer. The therapy works by lowering the level or blocking estrogen from getting to cancer cells.

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Imaging Test – A type of test that makes detailed pictures of areas inside the body. Imaging tests use different forms of energy, such as x-rays (high-energy radiation), ultrasound (high-energy sound waves), radio waves, and radioactive substances. They may be used to help diagnose disease, plan treatment, or find out how well treatment is working.

Immunotherapy – The use of drugs that target proteins on immune cells, called "checkpoints," that need to be turned on or off to trigger an immune response against cancer cells.

Inframammary Incision – An incision made in the fold under the breast.

In Situ Breast Cancer – A type of cancer where abnormal cells remain in the place where they first formed.

Invasive Breast Cancer – Cancer that has spread from where it began in the breast to surrounding normal tissue.

Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC)– Cancer starting in the cells that line a milk duct in the breast. Over time, the cancer can spread to the lymph nodes and possibly to other parts of the body. IDC is the most common type of invasive breast cancer.

Invasive Lobular Carcinoma (ILC) – A type of invasive breast cancer that starts in the milk-producing glands (lobules) and can spread to other parts of the body. ILC is the second most common form of invasive breast cancer and accounts for 10 to 15 percent of breast cancer cases.

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Kinase Inhibitors – In breast cancer, these drugs target and block the action of the HER2 protein (called a kinase), interfering with the signals that tell cancer cells to grow.

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Latissimus Dorsi Flap – A tissue flap procedure that uses muscle, fat, and skin tunneled under the skin and tissue of a woman's back for breast reconstruction.

Ligament – The fibrous connective tissue that connects bones to other bones.

Liposuction – Also called lipoplasty or suction lipectomy, a procedure that vacuums out fat from beneath the skin's surface to reduce fullness.

Lobes – Glands in the breast, each of which has many smaller sacs called lobules that produce milk.

Lumpectomy – Surgery that involves removing the part of the breast where the tumor is located and a margin of healthy tissue surrounding the tumor to ensure cancer is completely gone. Also known as breast-conserving surgery or partial mastectomy.

Lymph Node– Oval-shaped masses of tissue that serve an important role in protecting the body from infection. Also known as lymph glands.

Lymphatic Tissue – Part of the immune system that helps protect the body from bacteria and other foreign invaders. Lymphatic tissue supports immune system responses and includes the lymph nodes, spleen, and tonsils.

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Macromastia – The medical term for disproportionately heavy breasts on an otherwise average size woman. Many women with this condition have a breast size that limits their physical activity and experience back, neck, and shoulder pain caused by the weight of their breasts.

Malignant – A disease or growth that occurs in a severe form, tends to get progressively worse, and is likely to result in death.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) – A non-invasive imaging method using magnetic fields and radio waves to create images of the body.

Mammary Gland – Gland located in the breasts and responsible for producing milk.

Mammogram – An x-ray image of the breast.

Mastectomy – Surgery that removes the breast, typically to rid the body of cancer.

Mastopexy – Surgery to lift the breasts.

Menopause – The natural ending of menstrual periods occurring usually between the ages of 45 and 55. Menopause can occur naturally or be triggered by the surgical removal of the ovaries.

Menstruation – The monthly discharge of blood and tissue from the uterus that occurs when a woman is not pregnant.

Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) – Also called "stage 4 breast cancer", metastatic breast cancer is diagnosed when the cancer has travelled (metastasized) through the lymph system or bloodstream to create tumors in other parts of the body, such as the liver, lungs, brain, and bones.

Metastasize – The spread of cancer cells from the place where they first formed to another part of the body.

Milk Duct – The tube that carries breast milk from where it is made in the glandular tissue of the breast out to the nipple.

Minimally-Invasive – A medical treatment or procedure requiring as little incision to the body as possible, resulting in minimal damage of body tissue.

Molecular Breast Imaging (MBI) – A test that uses a radioactive tracer and special camera to find breast cancer.

Molecular Testing – Laboratory tests on a sample of the cancerous tissue that identifies specific genes, proteins, and other factors unique to the tumor. The results will show if the cancer has gene mutations that respond to a targeted therapy.

Montgomery (Areolar) Glands – Small glands around the nipples and the areola that are usually not noticeable until a woman becomes pregnant. The Montgomery glands play an important role in getting breastfeeding off to a good start with engagement of attachment and bonding.

Monoclonal Antibodies – Man-made versions of immune system proteins (antibodies) in drug form that attach to a specific protein on cancer cells and stop the cells from growing.

Multigene Panel Testing – A type of genetic testing that looks for mutations in several genes at once. This is different from single-gene testing, which looks for a mutation in a specific gene.

Mutation – A permanent change in a gene that can affect the behavior of cells and lead to the development of cancer.

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Nipple – The raised tissue on the surface of the breast in both women and men. In women, the nipple delivers milk to the infant during breastfeeding.

Noninvasive – A medical test or procedure that does not require an incision as entry into the body.

Nonsurgical – A procedure or treatment not involving surgery.

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Oncoplastic Reduction Lumpectomy – A procedure where a lumpectomy and breast reduction surgery are performed at the same time, so the breast is reshaped smaller.

Oncoplastic Surgery – An approach where surgeons combine a lumpectomy with plastic surgery techniques at the same time of the breast reconstruction surgery to restore a natural appearance to the breast shape.

Outpatient – When a person (patient) receives medical treatment without being admitted to a hospital.

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PARP Inhibitors – These anticancer drugs block PARP proteins, which normally help repair damaged DNA inside cells. However, because tumor cells with a mutated BRCA gene already have trouble repairing damaged DNA, blocking the PARP proteins often leads to the death of these cells.

Pencil Test – A way to determine if you are a candidate for a breast lift. The test involves putting a pencil as high as possible under the fold of one breast. If the pencil stays in place, that is a sign of breast drooping where a breast lift is beneficial.

Pendulous Breasts – Breasts that are no longer self-supporting and is seen in all breast shapes and sizes due to age, significant weight loss, pregnancy, and breastfeeding. With pendulous breasts, most of the breast tissue lies below the inframammary fold and the nipple lies on or below the inframammary fold.

Periareolar Incision – An incision made at the edge of the areola.

Perimenopause – The years before a woman reaches menopause when menstruation stops.

Photosensitivity – Oversensitivity of the skin to UV rays, which can be a side effect of medical treatment or the result of a disease.

Pigmentation – The coloring of the skin, hair, mucous membranes, and retina of the eye.

PALB2 Gene – A gene that can mutate and increase the risk for breast cancer and possibly pancreatic, ovarian, and other cancers.

PET (positron emission tomography) Scan – This diagnostic test puts a radioactive sugar called FDG into a vein, so it travels throughout the body. Because cancer cells absorb high amounts of FDG, a special camera takes pictures that show the areas where the sugar collected throughout the body indicating the presence of cancer.

Post-marketing Study – A study possibly required by the FDA after a drug or medical device is on the market to gather additional information on the product's safety, efficacy, and use.

Postmenopausal – Occurring after menopause.

Premarket Approval Process (PMA) – The process of scientific and regulatory review used by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of medical devices, including breast implants and pacemakers. Medical devices requiring premarket approval must be based on clinical trials and other studies.

Preventive Drug Therapy for Breast Cancer – Also called chemoprevention, this therapy uses medicines to stop breast cancer from developing. The drugs attach to estrogen receptors in breast cells to block the effects of estrogen in breast tissue.

Procedure – The act of performing surgery.

Projection – Referring to the depth of the breasts – in other words, how much the breasts extend outward from the body.

Progestin – A synthetic form of progesterone that is similar to the hormone naturally produced by the body.

Progesterone – A female steroid hormone that prepares the uterine lining for pregnancy and maintains pregnancy when it occurs.

Progesterone Receptor Positive (PR+) – Breast cancers that grow in response to progesterone.

Prognosis – The forecast of the probable outcome or course of a disease; the patient's chance of recovery.

Prophylactic Mastectomy – This type of mastectomy is a consideration when women diagnosed with breast cancer in one breast also have a family history of the disease. The option is to have the other breast removed at the time of surgery to lower the risk of developing a second breast cancer.

Protective – Serving to protect the body or one of its parts from disease or injury.

Ptosis – The medical term for sagging breasts. Plastic surgeons determine the degree of ptosis by evaluating the position of the nipple in relation to the inframammary fold, the point at which the underside of the breasts attach to the chest wall. In the most advanced stage, the nipples are below the fold and point toward the ground.

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Radiation Therapy – Uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells. Breast cancer radiation therapy is used to destroy any remaining cells that remain in the breast or armpit area after breast cancer surgery.

Receptor – A protein that inside a cell that can be activated. In the case of breast cancer, hormone receptors inside the cancer cells can be activated by estrogen and progesterone, which trigger growth.

Reduction Mammoplasty – Surgery to reduce the size of breasts; also known as breast reduction surgery.

Relaxed Breasts – Breasts with looser breast tissue and nipples that point downward.

Risk – The chance or likelihood that something will harm or otherwise affect your health. Risk does not mean that something bad will definitely happen but that there is a possibility.

Round Breasts – Breasts with the same amount of fullness at the top and the bottom.

Round Implants – Breast implants that have the same shape all over, which makes breasts appear fuller.

Rupture – A complication where something bursts or suddenly breaks. In the case of breast augmentation, the implant can rupture, causing breast pain and changes in the contour and shape of the breast. A problem called silent rupture is when rupture goes unnoticed and causes the tissue to become irritated and swollen.

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Saline Breast Implants – Breast implants filled with sterile salt water.

Serum Chemistry Blood Tests – Tests that look at minerals in your blood, such as potassium and calcium, and specialized proteins called enzymes that can be abnormal if cancer has spread.

Side Set Breasts – Breasts that are spaced far apart.

Silicone Breast Implants – Breast implants pre-filled with silicone gel.

Silent RuptureOccurs when a breast implant ruptures and leaks, trapping the silicone gel in the capsule that surrounds the implant. Most silent ruptures are without symptoms and do not change how the implant looks or feels. This is why FDA and breast specialists recommend that women with silicone gel-filled implants get an MRI scan three years after the implant surgery and then MRI scans about every two years to check for silent rupture.

Slender Breasts – Breasts that are narrow and long with nipples pointing downward.

Smooth Breast Implants – Implants with an outer silicone rubber shell that is exceptionally smooth, shiny, and slippery. Smooth implants do not attach to the surrounding body tissue so they can move freely within the breast implant pocket, giving them more natural movement.

Structured Saline Breast Implants – Saline implants that have a different internal structure that reduces folding and wrinkling and makes the implant appear more natural.

Subcutaneous Mastectomy – This surgery allows for more natural-looking breasts if a woman chooses to have a mastectomy and breast reconstruction simultaneously or to follow a mastectomy with reconstruction later.

Supplemental Imaging Tests – Imaging tests, such as a breast MRI, breast ultrasound, and 3D mammography (screening breast tomosynthesis) to increase cancer detection. Breast specialists may order supplemental imaging tests in the case of dense breasts and other situations where routine screening with mammography can miss breast cancers.

Surgical Bra – A bra typically made of fabrics with no dye, wires, or excessive trim that provides light compression and can be worn all day to support the breasts as the tissue recovers.

Sutures – Stitches used to hold skin and tissue together.

Symptom – A problem that may indicate a disease or condition. Some examples are headache, fatigue, nausea, and pain.

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Targeted Therapy – In treating breast cancer, these treatments attach to a specific gene or protein to block the growth and spread of cancer cells while limiting damage to healthy cells.

Tear Drop Breasts – Breasts that are round, with a bottom that is a little fuller than the top.

Textured Breast ImplantsImplants with a slightly rough surface that sticks to the tissue around it, keeping the implant in its original position created by the surgeon. There is a higher risk of "breast implant associated lymphoma" (BIA-ALCL), a rare type of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, with textured surface implants.

Tissue – Group of cells that carries out a specific function. Human tissue makes up organs and other body parts.

Tissue Expander – A balloon-like sac with a tiny valve that is inserted during mastectomy to make room for a future breast implant. Over time, a salt-water solution is injected into the expander to expand its size gradually.

Tissue Expansion – A surgical technique to stretch your own healthy tissue and create new skin to provide coverage for a breast implant.

Transaxillary Incision – An incision made in the underarm area.

TRAM Flap – A tissue flap procedure known as the transverse rectus abdominis muscle flap that harvests tissue from the abdomen for breast reconstruction.

Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) – Breast cancer that tests negative for estrogen receptors (ER -), progesterone receptors (PR -), and excess HER2 protein (HER2 -).

TUG Flap – A tissue flap procedure known as the transverse upper gracilis flap that uses tissue from the inner thigh for breast reconstruction.

Tumor – An abnormal growth of tissue that can either be benign or malignant.

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Ultrasound – A common tool used by physicians such as gynecologists and radiologists that uses sound waves to view internal organs, structures, and growths, such as uterine fibroids.

United States Prevention Services Task Force (USPSTF) – A independent panel of national experts in disease prevention that makes evidence-based recommendations about the use of clinical preventive services, like cancer screening tests.

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Voluntary Withdrawal – An action taken by a company by choice at any time to remove a product from the market.

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X-Ray – A form of electromagnetic radiation that is used for medical imaging and treating cancer.

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This resource was created with support from The Allergan Foundation.

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