Polythelia: Extra Nipples:
Extra nipples, if they are connected with mammary glands, may be able to produce breast milk after pregnancy. Sometimes called accessory nipples or third nipples, these often look like moles or freckles, and don't always have a connection with breast tissue or milk ducts.
Common Names for Extra Nipples:
- supernumerary nipple
- triple nipple
- vestigial nipple
- witch's nipple
Who Gets Third Nipples:
Anne Boleyn, wife of King Henry VIII of England, was said to have had a third nipple. Scaramanga, an infamous Bond villain, had an accessory nipple and this was what made him easy to identify. Scientists named the Scaramanga gene after him; it is this gene that produces a protein called Neuregulin-3 (NRG3), which provides a signal to embryonic cells telling them to become breast cells.
Accessory Nipples, Breast Cancer, and Other Conditions:
The presence of extra nipples is sometimes linked to heart defects and kidney disease. Paget's disease of the nipple can sometimes show up in your groin area (lower end of the milk lines) where it is called extramammary Paget's disease (EMPD).
Care of Extra Nipples:
Dermoscopic features of accessory nipples. Murat Orhan Oztas, MD, and Mehmet Ali Gurer, MD. International Journal of Dermatology, Volume 46 Issue 10, Pages 1067 - 1068. Published Online: 1 Oct 2007.
Familial polythelia over three generations with polymastia in the youngest girl. Galli-Tsinopoulou A; Krohn C; Schmidt H. Eur J Pediatr. 2001 Jun;160(6):375-7.
The role of NRG3 in mammary development. Beatrice A Howard. J Mammary Gland Biol Neoplasia. 2008 Jun;13(2):195-203. Epub 2008 Apr 17.
Variations in Development. Variations Apparent at Birth; Pp. 51- 53. Dr. Susan Love's Breast Book. Susan M. Love, M.D. Third Edition, 2000.