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5 Common Myths of Armpit Fat

December 20, 2022
February 1, 2024

The axillary breast is often passed off as armpit fat to the untrained eye or person. While this is understandable visually, it's far from the truth.

Table of Contents

A common bump on the road to looking good for many women is the much-dreaded bulge that spills out around the armpit area when donning certain clothing items like sports bras, tank tops, sleeveless tops and even swimwear. This unwelcome presence puts a damper on the confidence, and no matter how hard a woman tries to conceal it - the bulge simply won't budge.

Having little or no understanding of its causes, like for many other conditions, often leads to misinformation. For example, the bulge that a woman is experiencing may not be armpit fat. It could be axillary accessory breasts or even both.

What is excess fat in the armpit?

Armpit fat is also known as axillary fat, as it occurs around the armpit area, also recognised as the axillary area. Another term that's more commonly heard is bra fat, which appears as a bulge when a woman wears fitted tops or a bra. This bulge results from fat pockets spilling over, for example, the bra straps. This can happen regardless of whether the bra is tight-fitted or loose-fitted.

Armpit fat is common, and the size of a woman's breasts is generally irrelevant. It's more to her genes or DNA as we store fat differently. Some people encounter stubborn or excess fat in areas such as the thighs or abdomen, while others in the axillary area, the armpits. The causes may vary, but the effect is common and low self-confidence is an example.

What are the causes of armpit fat?

Another thing about armpit fat is that men too can get it although it's more prevalent in women. This is because the root cause is the presence of excess fat. Aside from as a result of wearing a bra or clothing that's too tight, other causes are:


Genetics generally determine many things, including where fat is stored in the body. So if armpit fat seems to be a common appearance in the family, then the likelihood of a person having it is relatively high.


Being overweight is also a common cause. The excess fat may be deposited around the armpit area, depending on one's genetic makeup. Losing weight may help to address the issue, but it's not a guarantee as spot-reduction exercise is still considered wishful thinking.


Hormones and, in particular, hormonal changes happen to and affect everyone. In women, the changes include breast size, as, during pregnancy, hormonal changes cause the breasts to swell and enlarge to ready them to produce milk. This swelling, in turn, can cause an increase in excess skin fat or fat in areas such as the breasts and underarm.


We know that poor posture can lead to issues like back issues, which can result in a host of other problems. Additionally, although it's not a cause per se, poor posture can increase the visibility of armpit fat if a person already has it. Standing straight may help reduce its appearance, but it's only temporary.

What are Axillary Accessory Breasts?

Axillary Accessory Breasts

Commonly assumed to be armpit fat, the axillary breast is anything but. It is breast tissue that develops in or near the armpits. Simply put, extra breast tissue is present in addition to normal breast tissue.

According to Dr Ivan Puah, who has over 15 years of liposuction experience and surgical excision of axillary accessory breast tissue, "Both the armpit fat and axillary accessory breast tissues are the commonest cause of disturbed axillary aesthetics. Those with either or both issues are often limited by clothing choices. They are also extremely bothered and self-conscious of their appearance. In addition to the cosmetic concerns, those with axillary accessory breasts also experience discomfort, pain in the lump, inability to maintain proper arm posture and for some, pain along the medial arm.

This extra breast tissue, also known as accessory breast or Polymastia, is residual tissue from normal embryologic development. In normal development, breast tissues develop along the milk line, which is a line that arches from the armpit to the groin. Additional tissues developed are disintegrated and absorbed into the body, and it is this that causes Polymastia. While it may sound unfamiliar, polymastia is quite prevalent in certain populations like the Japanese.

According to Dr Ivan Puah, Medical Director Amaris B. Clinic, patients with accessory breast tissue can experience discomfort and pain. This finding and observation resulted from his 15 years of liposuction experience and surgical excision of axillary accessory breast tissue. 

Additionally, Dr Puah shares that patients may also develop the inability to maintain proper arm posture due to the condition.

Axillary Accessory Breasts’ Kajava Classification – 1915 

There are different grades of the accessory breast, according to Kajava et al. in 1915. The classification is based on the composition of aberrant tissues, and they are:

• Grade I – Consists of a complete breast with a nipple, areola, and glandular tissue.

• Grade II – Consists of glandular tissue and nipple without the areola.

• Grade III – Consists of glandular tissue and areola without the nipple.

• Grade IV – Consists of only glandular tissue. 

• Grade V – Consists of only nipple and areola, without glandular tissue.

• Grade VI – Consists of only the nipple.

• Grade VII – Consists of only the areola.

• Grade VIII – Consists of only hair.

Dr Ivan Puah, also the Chairman of Lipo Peer Review Committee Singapore, has seen how the condition has affected women regarding their quality of life. He has also helped many overcome the issue and regain lost confidence, among other things. Experienced doctors such as himself are critical as they can correctly identify the nature of an issue and, moving forward, can appropriately address them. So an individual facing such an issue must engage a knowledgeable and qualified doctor.

Causes of Axillary breast tissue

The axillary breast is often passed off as armpit fat to the untrained eye or person. While this is understandable visually, it's far from the truth. The condition is caused by the development of breast tissue outside of the breast area, and unlike armpit fat, the axillary breast is not a common predicament.

5 Common Myths of Armpit Fat in Singapore

01. The bra bulge is caused by tight bra or tops

To conclude that a bra bulge is caused due to tight fitting bras or tops is probably stating the obvious. However, the bulge can also be caused by loose, fitted ones because the issue centres around the presence of fat deposits and this can happen to anyone - regardless of breast or physique size. 

02. Armpit fat only occurs in women

Much like all breast tissue, Axillary breast tissue responds to hormonal changes and fluctuations. Hence, it's also a real problem among men, with 1 to 2 percent of the demographic affected. Armpit fat is also an issue that a man potentially faces as its causes are excess weight and genetic predispositions such as how fat is stored in the body.

03. Armpit fat is just fat and can be removed by exercise and diet

The diet and exercise approach is often, if not always, the default method of addressing excess fat issues. Still, it's not enough at times, and stubborn fat is not called such for no reason. In the case of armpit fat and accessory breast tissue, the intervention of a different kind is needed.‍

04. Pushup can get rid of armpit fat

Targeted exercise is common practice, and it does help to tone muscles. Spot fat reduction, however, is still a myth. Although targeting certain areas do help to strengthen surrounding parts, it does little in terms of fat reduction to those parts. Pushups and other exercises cannot reduce armpit fat.

05. Armpit fat is hard to get rid of

There's no doubt that armpit fat is impossible to remove with exercise and diet alone. In fact, specific fat reduction procedures may also not be effective such as Cryolipolysis. Its nature, mainly its size, gives a false belief that it's easy to address. Additionally, although it can be removed with certain other procedures in a straightforward manner, it's only if the issue involves only excess fat. It becomes challenging when other factors, such as excess glands, are involved, as with axillary or accessory breasts.

Armpit Fat Liposuction with the MDC-Sculpt®️ Lipo technique

The MDC-Sculpt®️ Lipo technique is a proprietary surgical fat removal and body sculpting approach developed by Dr Ivan Puah. This ingenious approach results from his more than 15 years of experience in liposuction.

Armpit Liposuction with the MDC-Sculpt®️ Lipo enables Dr Ivan Puah to reach fat layers and with strategically placed incisions, surgical incision scars are minimised.  It removes stubborn excess fat safely and efficiently during liposuction surgery. 

Carried out under local anaesthesia, armpit liposuction is done  in an accredited day surgery, and the patient is cared for by a team of trained surgical personnel and an anaesthetist. The patient will be under twilight sedation (not general anaesthesia) throughout the procedure. Dr Ivan Puah will place small incisions at the armpit area, infiltrate a mixture of pre-prepared anaesthetic fluid into the site, and use thin cannulas to remove the fat and further sculpt the area. Wounds will be closed with stitches and compression dressing.  

Armpit liposuction addresses stubborn fat that often fails to respond to diet or exercise. 

Axillary Accessory Breasts tissue removal 

An American Journal of Roentgenology article reported that liposuction is the proven method in eliminating armpit fat while surgical excision is the most effective in addressing accessory breasts issues [1]. 

Dr Ivan Puah’s proprietary MDC-Sculpt Lipo technique is able to eliminate excess fat permanently while contouring the area for a smoother finish. The technique also allows for good skin retraction. For accessory breasts issues, another form of surgical approach is applied. This is due to the fact that liposuction or any non-surgical approach is ineffective in the affected areas. Depending on a patient’s condition, both Armpit Fat Lipo and Accessory Breast Removal may need to be performed to achieve desired results.

For more information on Armpit Fat Lipo & Accessory Breast Removal surgery, Whatsapp us at 91524140 or customer@amaris-b.com.


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