A MORPHOMETRIC ANALYSIS OF THE NULLIPAROUS FEMALE BREAST IN ENUGU, SOUTH EASTERN NIGERIA
BACKGROUND: The female breast is an object of attraction to the opposite sex as well
as a symbol of femininity. In recent years, there have been several important developments
in the surgical management of breast diseases. In addition, the management of breast
diseases has received considerable attention in the lay media with patients demanding
effective surgical treatment with good aesthetic results as well. An essential part of
aesthetic surgery is an understanding of the aesthetic ideals of the body. Quantitative
analysis of breast morphometry is critical to breast plastic surgery.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to determine the normal reference data for
nulliparous female breast shape, position and volume in a population of varying height,
weight and age and also to determine the effects of weight, height and age on breast
METHODOLOGY: Five hundred (500) nulliparous females between the ages of 15 and
30 years, among patients presenting to the Plastic Surgery Clinic, hospital community and
secondary school students were selected using a computer generated random sampling
method and prospectively studied over a period of one year. The subjects’ breasts were
examined clinically to rule out any underlying breast disease. Physical measurements were
carried out on the breasts. These were suprasternal notch to nipple distance, nipple to nipple
distance, midclavicular line to nipple distance, inframammary fold to nipple distance,
areolar diameter, nipple diameter, breast diameter and chest circumference. The weight and
height of each patient were also measured and the body mass index (BMI) was calculated.
Data analysis was conducted using version 16 of Statistical Package for Social Sciences
and Microsoft Excel.
RESULTS: The mean age of patients was 18 (range 15-30) years. The mean values for the
physical measurements were: suprasternal notch to right nipple distance ( SNNR) 19.76cm,
suprasternal notch to left nipple distance ( SNNL) 20.09cm, midclavicular line to right
nipple distance (MCLNR) 19.53cm, midclavicular line to left nipple distance (MCLNL)
19.72cm, nipple to nipple distance (NN) 21.12cm, right nipple to inframammary fold
(NIMFR) 8.13cm, left nipple to inframammary fold (NIMFL) 8.28cm, right areolar
diameter (ADR) 3.89cm and left areolar diameter (ADL) 3.92cm. The mean chest band
size and breast cup size was 74D. The NIMF measurements where higher than the
documented western values. Measurements on the left breast were greater than those of
the right breast. Correlation of the age, breast cup size and BMI respectively with the nipple
to inframammary fold were all statistically significant. Correlation of weight and BMI with
breast cup size were also statistically significant.
CONCLUSION: The result of this study has shown that the physical measurements of the
breast are within the same ranges as in other studies and that age, BMI and weight can
influence breast cup size and nipple to inframammary fold measurements. Asymmetry of
the breasts was also established in this study with the left breast being larger than the right
KEYWORDS: Breast, morphometry, nulliparous, female.