Anatomy and Physiology

Mammary Glands (Breast)

Breast

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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