Support

The breasts are supported and slung in powerful suspensory Cooper's ligaments, which go around the breast, both ends being attached to the chest wall. The pectoralis major and serratus anterior muscles help to support the ligaments.

Lactiferous duct

Cooper's ligaments

Pectoralis major

Adipose tissue

Lactiferous duct

Cooper's ligaments

Pectoralis major

Adipose tissue

Areola

Nipple

Areola

Nipple

Fig 10.3 The structure of the female breast

If the breast grows large due to adolescence or pregnancy, the Cooper's ligaments may become irreparably stretched and the breast will then sag. With age, the supporting ligaments, along with the skin and the breast tissue, become thin and inelastic, and the breasts lose their support.

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