These are hemispherical accessory glands of the female reproductive system, which are concerned with lactation after childbirth.
- Deep fascia attaches it to the pectoralis major and serratus anterior muscle with the subcutaneous tissues and is weighing about 200-300gm during reproductive age.
- Each breast has pigmented muscular projection covered by the skin is the nipple and it has openings of 15-20 lactiferous ducts.
- The pigmented surrounding area of the nipple in each breast is called areola which accommodates modified sebaceous glands(oil).
- Suspensory ligament (Cooper’s ligament) extends from skin to deep fascia which supports the breast.
- Within each breast is a mammary gland that produces milk, it consists of 15-20 lobes which are separated by adipose tissues with smaller compartments known as lobules, which is composed of grape-like clusters of milk-secreting glands termed as alveoli.
- A branching longitudinal cell, the myoepithelial cell surrounds the alveoli which secrete and propels milk toward the nipple, contraction of these cells squeezes the alveoli these are lined by columnar cells.
- When milk is produced it passes from alveoli to secondary tubules and then to the mammary duct.
- Near the nipple mammary duct dilated to form ampulla or lactiferous sinus where milk is stored then drained into lactiferous ducts to the exterior, where the baby can feed.
- Blood supply to these glands is by the axillary artery, internal mammary, and intercostal arteries and venous drainage by the same corresponding veins.
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