The story of Jasmine Tridevil, a massage therapist in Florida who claimed she paid a plastic surgeon $20,000 to have a third breast surgically implanted on her chest, deflated pretty quickly, to the disappointment of millions of strange men as well as fans of “Total Recall.” It turns out she was caught with a three-breast prosthesis and is a suspected Internet hoaxer named Alicia Hessler.
So Jasmine’s fake breast story probably really IS a fake, but it turns out having three (or more) breasts can actually happen.
It’s a condition called polymastia or accessory breasts and is actually pretty common, occurring in up to 6 percent of all humans. It can range from just having an extra nipple (polythelia) all the way to growing a fully-formed breast. Most often, the extra breast tissue is small and sometimes misdiagnosed as lipoma, a fatty tumor. While the condition is more common in women, it can happen in men as well.
According to dermatologists, the accessory breasts generally appear in the armpit area but can show up anywhere on the chest as well as on the back, in the groin area, on the back of the neck or on the buttocks. Many women and most men opt to have the accessory breast tissue surgically removed, especially if it’s large.
Extra nipples are pretty common and many celebrities have brought theirs out of the closet or T-shirt, including Mark Wahlberg, Jackson Browne, Frank Langella and Tilda Swinton. While three would seem to be a crowd, there have been reports of persons having up to seven nipples and there was a case in 1886 of a woman allegedly having ten breasts.
At one time, women with extra nipples and breasts were considered to be witches and were tortured or killed. Today, most women with accessory breast tissue don’t even know about it until they have hormonal fluctuations brought on by puberty or pregnancy.
While polymastia is a problem for some, Mark Wahlberg is happy about his third nipple.
I’ve come to embrace it. That thing’s my prized possession.
Meanwhile, all articles about Jasmine Tridevil are now one-third off.