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Anatomy of the Breasts

Illustration of the anatomy of the female breast, front view
Click Image to Enlarge

Each breast has 15 to 20 sections, called lobes, that are arranged like the petals of a daisy.

Each lobe has many smaller lobules, which end in dozens of tiny bulbs that can produce milk.

The lobes, lobules, and bulbs are all linked by thin tubes called ducts.

These ducts lead to the nipple in the center of a dark area of skin called the areola.

Illustration of the anatomy of the female breast, side view
Click Image to Enlarge


Fat fills the spaces between lobules and ducts.

There are no muscles in the breast, but muscles lie under each breast and cover the ribs.

Each breast also contains blood vessels and vessels that carry lymph. The lymph vessels lead to small bean-shaped organs called lymph nodes, clusters of which are found under the arm, above the collarbone, and in the chest, as well as in many other parts of the body.

Online Medical Reviewer: Bowers, Nancy, RN, BSN, MPH
Online Medical Reviewer: newMentor board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Date Last Reviewed: 4/28/2013
© 2000-2014 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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