Supernumerary nipple in Adult
Alerts and Notices
SynopsisSupernumerary nipples (SNs) are common congenital malformations in which additional nipples or related tissue (see accessory breast tissue) occurs along the embryonic milk line. In humans, this line extends bilaterally from a point on the inner arm just beyond the axilla, down the chest, abdomen, and groin, ending on the proximal inner thigh area. Ectopic supernumerary nipples (5%) are found beyond this milk line.
These benign lesions occur in 1%-6% of the population worldwide, and 10% of cases are familial with an autosomal dominance inheritance pattern. Incidence has been reported as more common in males (7:1 male-to-female ratio). Most are single lesions below the regular nipple but may be multiple and bilateral.
SNs are often undetected at birth and are generally without symptoms. Some become more noticeable at adolescence, menstruation, or pregnancy when increased pigmentation, fluctuating swelling and tenderness, or lactation may be noted.
There are some studies that suggest an association between accessory breast tissue, including SNs, and renal anomalies. An increased incidence of ipsilateral Becker nevus has been noted. SNs are found in several multiple congenital anomaly syndromes, including Simpson-Golabi-Behmel (overgrowth, coarse face, embryonal tumors, and congenital cardiac, renal, and/or skeletal abnormalities), cleft lip or palate ectodermal dysplasia, and tricho-odonto-onychial dysplasia. Ectopic glandular breast tissue can develop any of the lesions of normal breast tissue, including malignancy.
Q83.3 – Accessory nipple
50956007 – Supernumerary nipple
Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls
- Epidermal cyst
- Other benign and malignant soft tissue neoplasm
Patient Information for Supernumerary nipple in Adult
OverviewSupernumerary nipple is a medical term to describe the presence of one or more "extra" nipples that might be present on a person's body. These are equally common in both males and females, and they are always benign (not life-threatening or cancerous).
Who’s At RiskAnyone can be born with a supernumerary nipple. They do not usually develop later in life, though they may become more or less noticeable. Some doctors believe that supernumerary nipples tend to occur within families.
Signs & SymptomsThe supernumerary nipple is commonly noticed in infancy or childhood. It usually appears as a small tan or brown freckle or mole that is present somewhere on the abdomen, typically in a vertical line downward from the usual nipple. More rarely, the freckle or mole looks distinctly nipple-like, with a small dimple in the middle and a lighter surrounding area that resembles the areola (the pigmented area around the raised part of the nipple). Very rarely, there is some breast tissue present underneath the supernumerary nipple. Sometimes there is more than one supernumerary nipple; there can be one on each side or two or more extending in a vertical line down the abdomen on one side. Supernumerary nipples are not itchy or painful, nor do they have other symptoms associated with them.
Self-Care GuidelinesThere is no need to attempt any home self-care for a supernumerary nipple.
When to Seek Medical CareA person with a supernumerary nipple (or his/her parents) might chose to have it removed by a simple surgical procedure, which is really the only reason to seek medical care. In the case of a supernumerary nipple in a baby, it would make sense to wait until the baby has reached middle childhood to see if the nipple naturally becomes less obvious rather than seek surgical care in infancy.
TreatmentsYour child's doctor will help you decide if the child needs to be referred to a dermatologist or a surgeon to discuss surgical removal of the supernumerary nipple.
Freedberg IM, Eisen, AZ, Wolff K, Austen KF, Goldsmith LA, Katz, SI, eds. Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. 6th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2003:786-788.
Weinberg S, Kristal L, Prose NS. Color Atlas of Pediatric Dermatology. 4th ed. McGraw-Hill; 2007.
Weston WL. Color Textbook of Pediatric Dermatology. 2nd ed. St. Louis, MO: Mosby Inc; 1996:349.
Supernumerary nipple in Adult