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Snoopy Deformity

snoopy breast deformity new yorkThe original Snoopy Nose Deformity was described in the 1970s and referred to a condition wherein the nipple and areola are prominent and puffy because the breast tissue in this area is herniated.  When viewed from the side, the breast profile resembles the profile of the cartoon dog Snoopy's nose.  Another term used is torpedo breast.

Nowadays, the term "Snoopy Deformity" is used to refer to the profile appearance of the patient’s augmented breast, when the breast tissue is sagging or ptotic, the nipple is too low and there is excess skin. The implant is correctly located but the breast tissue sags over the inferior edge of the implant.

What does Snoopy Deformity look like?

When viewed from the side, the breast resembles Snoopy's profile.  Snoopy's nose in profile looks full at the top and the tip of the nose is hanging low.  This is the classic appearance of an augmented breast with a Snoopy Deformity.  This is also a type of double bubble deformity and people will use these terms interchangeably (the terminology can be confusing!)

Snoopy deformity causes

Congenital Snoopy deformities may be associated with tuberous breast disorders or can be a natural occurrence in breasts when tissue protrudes through a rupture in the smooth muscle of the nipple areola complex.  In addition, it can result after peri-areolar incisions for breast lift or augmentation surgery.

The modern Snoopy Deformity is one that can result after augmentation surgery and is due to the sagging breast tissue hanging off the inferior edge of the implant.  In some patients this develops over time after surgery, sometimes years. As the breast tissue ages it sags over the existing breast implant. In other cases, the patient had pre-existing breast ptosis that required mastopexy at the time of augmentation.  

Unfortunately, patients sometimes refuse a breast lift. Reasons for this include desire to avoid the scar associated with breast lift and the cost of the additional surgery. In some cases, when a patient does not want a lift, the surgeon will go along with this request. The surgeon will often use an overly large implant to try and fill the excess skin and "lift" the breast. This is a very short-term solution.  

Dr. Pfeifer has been consulted by many patients who made this choice. The patients are unhappy with the aesthetic result, the implants are too large, and they require additional surgery. The total cost of the surgery ends up costing much more and the desired result cannot be achieved without a breast lift, i.e. the scar is necessary to produce the desired result.  Large breast implants are not a solution if you need a breast lift.

Correcting a snoopy deformity

Since the Snoopy Deformity does not affect breast function, it is considered solely a cosmetic concern, which can be corrected with cosmetic breast surgery.

The Snoopy Deformity associated with tuberous breast is corrected with a peri-areolar mastopexy. If a previous breast surgery procedure contributed to the development of your snoopy deformity, correction would be achieved via breast surgery revision.

The modern Snoopy Deformity seen in augmented breasts with ptosis is corrected by performing a mastopexy.  Usually a lollipop scar will be sufficient. Dr. Pfeifer lifts the breast tissue itself and secures it to a higher position on the chest wall. The nipple areola complex is also lifted to a higher position.  In this way the breast mound and nipple areola complex is repositioned so it lies directly over the implants.  The implant and the breast are then is positional harmony.

Some patients have mild ptosis which may or may not require a lift to correct. In some cases an implant alone will suffice. This is determined in the operating room. Dr. Pfeifer will sit up the patient and view the breast from the foot of the operating table. In this way, she determines whether a breast lift is necessary by observing the breast mound in relation to the position of the implant.

When viewed with the patient lying down, the lack of harmony between the position of the implant and the breast cannot be visualized. Failure to view the breast with the patient in the sitting position is a common mistake made by surgeons.

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