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Male and Female Breast Assessment

Male Participant

Physical Assessment of Male Breast

The male breast is rudimentary in the entire lifetime of a male human being. The breast is very small and the only physical feature that can be observed is the nipple surrounded by areola (black tissue on the nipple) at the center. The main components of the male breast are glandular tissue, adipose tissue, fibrous tissues. The glandular tissue has more than ten lobes converging towards the nipple. However, the lobes are inactive in male breast (Jarvis, 2015).

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Detailed Anatomy and Physiological Analysis

Normal Findings

  • Location: The male breast is located between the 2nd and the 6th ribs covering the region from sternum to the mid axillary line.
  • Size: The male breast is relatively very small and the only visible feature is the areola on the nipple.
  • Surface Characteristics: The surface of the male breast is smooth with a bit of roughness around the nipple area.
  • Consistency: The surface of the male breast is generally flat and invisible.
  • Node: Male breast has a group of axillary lymph nodes which are inactive and underdeveloped.
  • Symmetry: The left and right breasts are symmetrical and uniformly flat in normal male person.
  • Tenderness or Pain: The male breast is tender and general painless since the hormonal changes are not active in this organ.
  • Erythema: The superficial capillaries in the male breast are inactive, thus, little or no erythema (Sawyer, 2012).
  • Heat: As a result of little or negligible hormonal changes occurring in the male breast, there are no heat changes in the organ.
  • Drainage: The breast of a male person has extensive but inactive lymphatic drainage since the ipsilateral axillary nodes are not active.

Abnormal Findings

  • Location: The breast may be located off the region between the 2nd and the 6th ribs covering the region from sternum to the mid axillary line (Estes, 2013).
  • Size: The breast may be gorged or bigger than the usual size.
  • Surface Characteristics: The surface may be very rough and uneven especially when the person is suffering from breast cancer and other ailments.
  • Consistency: The surface of the breast may not be consistent.
  • Node: The axillary lymph nodes may be active leading to tumor in the breasts.
  • Symmetry: The left and right breasts are asymmetrical.
  • Tenderness or Pain: The breast is painful.
  • Erythema: The superficial capillaries in the male breast are active. This means that the breast of such a person may experience erythema.
  • Heat: Some cases of heat may be recorded as a sign of breast ailment or cancer infection.
  • Drainage: The lymphatic drainage to the ipsilateral axillary nodes may be dysfunctional leading to swelling or bad smell incase of breast infection.

Female Participant

Physical Assessment of Male and Female Breasts

The breast is a very active organ in the female. The breast may remain flat until puberty which begins from eight years to eleven years and beyond. During puberty, the breast enlarges and the nipple gauges out of the fatty tissue. At the onset of pregnancy, the female breast experiences series of hormonal changes and erythema as the nipple becomes tender in preparation for lactation. During this period and after birth, the female breast might have stretch marks to indicate the series of size change during a lifetime. The hormonal activities in the breast only subside at menopause in most females.

Detailed Anatomy and Physiological Analysis

Normal Findings

  • Location: The female breast is located between the 2nd and the 6th ribs covering the region from sternum to the mid axillary line.
  • Size: The breast is large and size varies depending on hormonal changes.
  • Surface Characteristics: The surface is smooth with a bit of roughness around the nipple area.
  • Consistency: The surface is round and even.
  • Node: The breast has a group of axillary lymph nodes which are active and well developed (Estes, 2013).
  • Symmetry: The left and right breasts are symmetrical and uniform, except in some cases during puberty, which clear away with time.
  • Tenderness or Pain: The female breast is tender and may experience pain during hormonal changes at puberty, pregnancy, and lactation.
  • Erythema: The superficial capillaries in the male breast are active, especially during pregnancy and lactation, thus, may experience erythema.
  • Heat: Due to hormonal changes occurring in the female breast, cases of heat changes are common.
  • Drainage: The breast has extensive and active lymphatic drainage since the ipsilateral axillary nodes are active, especially during pregnancy and lactation.

Abnormal Findings

  • Location: The breast may be located off the region between the 2nd and the 6th ribs.
  • Size: The breast may be too small or too large with uneven surface, especially in cases of cancer infection.
  • Surface Characteristics: The surface may be very rough and uneven especially when the person is suffering from breast cancer.
  • Consistency: The surface of the breast may not be consistent.
  • Node: The axillary lymph nodes are erratic in functionality leading to tumor in the breasts.
  • Symmetry: The left and right breasts are asymmetrical.
  • Tenderness or Pain: The breast is frequently painful due to gauges or unusual fluids on the nipple.
  • Erythema: Excessive erythema especially in instance of cancer infection leading to change in color of the breast.
  • Heat: Erratic heat changes away from the normal cycle influenced by the hormonal imbalances.
  • Drainage: The lymphatic drainage to the ipsilateral axillary nodes may be dysfunctional leading to swelling or bad smell incase of breast infection (Kauffman, 2014).

References

Estes, E. (2013). Health assessment and physical examination (5th ed.). Alabama: Cengage Learning.

Jarvis, C. (2015). Physical examination and health assessment (6th ed.). New York, NY: Elsevier.

Kauffman, M. (2014). History and physical examination: A common sense approach. New York, NY: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

Sawyer, S. (2012). Pediatric physical examination & health assessment. New York, NY: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "Male and Female Breast Assessment." April 14, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/male-and-female-breast-assessment/.

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