Embryology and Anatomy of the Breast

  • John E. Skandalakis


The embryology of the breast shows that the ectoderm and the mesenchyme are responsible for the genesis of the male and female breast, with the ectoderm responsible for the formation of the ducts and alveoli and the mesenchyme responsible for the connective tissue and its vessels. The milk ridge develops in the ventral area of the body, and the pectoral part of the milk ridge produces the right and left mammary. Very little is known about the molecular mechanisms that initiate breast formation. The chronology of breast development is discussed through its developmental and differentiation phases. Developmental anomalies can occur, such as bilateral amastia, unilateral amastia, and bilateral amastia with congenital ectodermal defects, athelia, polythelia, polymastia, and breast asymmetry. The anatomy of the breast is described.


Internal Thoracic Artery Axillary Artery Pectoralis Major Muscle Axillary Vein Serratus Anterior Muscle 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • John E. Skandalakis
    • 1
  1. 1.Mercer University School of MedicineGeorgiaUSA

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