The anatomy of the female breast appears to be obvious, but it is quite intriguing.

 Sir Astley Paston Cooper is the first person to have devoted his lifetime to studying the anatomy of the breast and published his works in a book titled “On the Anatomy of the Breast” originally published in 1840. He comments in his book: “the breast is so complicated that I can make nothing of it”. He was honoured for his extensive work studying the anatomy of the breast, in that the breast ligaments which offer structural integrity to the breast is named after him: Cooper’s ligaments. Today, we refer to “Cooper’s droop” – sagging breasts because of ageing.

Breast tissue can be divided into three parts: fat, stroma (mostly connective tissue) and glandular tissue, also called parenchyma, which consist of ductal epithelial cells. Florence Williams describes it well: “On a mammogram, the light parts on the image represent the “gland” part. The dark parts are the fat. In humans, the gland is made up of numerous ducts snaking through the fat and stroma like tendrils of fireworks in the night sky.”

As we explore the breast further when we discuss different types of breast surgery, we will explore more of the anatomy of the breast