It is the most common of breast malformations, and is generally asymptomatic: this is what polythelia consists of
It is possible, for men as for other mammals, to "suffer" from polythelia, the most common malformation of the breast. As the name suggests, it consists of the presence of one or more "accessory" or supernumerary nipples. Which, in 75% of the cases, are small macules – whose diameter is about 30% of the main nipples – arranged along the mammary line, between the axilla and the groin (but can also occur on the neck, shoulders and back ). Usually asymptomatic, in rare cases they change color, become swollen or – in women – they secrete milk during adolescence, the menstrual cycle or pregnancy.
The causes of polythelia are mainly two: a variation of normal development (deriving from other mammals, man is potentially led to have more nipples) and a rare genetic syndrome. To present the third nipple, it is a percentage of women and men between 0.2% and 5.6%. Which, the anomaly, present it from birth. The mammary line develops in fact in the embryo between the fourth and fifth week of life, while the glandular elements of the breasts are formed at the level of the fourth and fifth coast between the second and third month. At this point, the rest of the thickening on the chest – in most of the embryos – is reduced: when the regression is not complete, and some residues remain, the child (or baby) is born with a third nipple.
If most people suffering from polythelia decide not to intervene – also because the third nipple does not develop further, and during puberty it does not turn into a breast -, it is however possible to remove what is a kind of speckle surgically. How to do it for i. With a scalpel, the surgeon cuts the lozenge-shaped area around the nipple, and then sutures the two edges of skin. The operation does not last more than half an hour, it is performed under local anesthesia, and the scar – which depends on the size of the nipple – is generally not very visible.
Although it is not such a rare anomaly, few people are aware of polythelia. And, to bring the "phenomenon" into the limelight, it is generally the famous people who – the third nipple – present it. Among them, the former One Direction Harry Styles, Mark Walhberg, Tilda Swinton and Carrie Underwood.