Supernumerary nipple

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Supernumerary nipple
Trzeci sutek.jpg
Classification and external resources
ICD-10 Q83.3
ICD-9 757.6
OMIM 163700
DiseasesDB 32140
MedlinePlus 003110
eMedicine derm/735

A supernumerary nipple (also known as a third nipple, triple nipple, accessory nipple,[1] polythelia or the related condition: polymastia) is an additional nipple occurring in mammals, including humans. Often mistaken for moles, supernumerary nipples are diagnosed at a rate of 1 in 18 males and 1 in approximately 50 female humans.[1][2]

The nipples appear along the two vertical "milk lines", which start in the armpit on each side, run down through the typical nipples and end at the groin. They are classified into eight levels of completeness from a simple patch of hair to a milk-bearing breast in miniature.[3][4]

type glandular tissue nipple areola fat tissue hair patch
1 yes yes yes yes
2 yes yes
3 yes yes
4 yes
5 ("pseudomamma") yes yes yes
6 ("polythelia") yes
7 ("polythelia areolaris") yes
8 ("polythelia pilosa") yes[citation needed]

Polythelia refers to the presence of an additional nipple alone while polymastia denotes the much rarer presence of additional mammary glands.

Although usually presenting on the milk line, pseudomamma can appear as far away as the foot.[5]

A possible relationship with mitral valve prolapse has been proposed.[6]


According to Ainsley Newson of Times Online, Romans regarded a third nipple a sign of reinforced femininity, while in Salem, an extra nipple was held to be indicative that the woman concerned was a witch; the nipple being used to suckle the devil.[7]

Notable people with supernumerary nipples[edit]

The Triple Nipple Club[edit]

The Triple Nipple Club is a documentary shown on Channel 4 which explored the biological mystery of the supernumerary nipple.[15] First broadcast on 2 January 2008, it was directed and produced by Dan Louw and commissioned as part of Channel 4's First Cut series.[16]

The film focuses on Louw’s attempts to understand why he was born with extra nipples, a condition he shares with the likes of Mark Wahlberg,[17] Lily Allen[18] and Tilda Swinton, as well as well known TV and film characters such as Scaramanga and Chandler Bing.

Fascinated and confused by this seemingly pointless mutation, Louw sets off on a personal journey of discovery to try and unwrap “the riddle of the triple nipple”. He starts out by consulting the man in the street and even a renowned teratologist, an expert in physical mutations. After testing the notion that extra nipples could be a sign of fertility, he discovers that they are actually an atavism, or evolutionary ‘holdover’ – a sign of how humans evolved.[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Rapini, Ronald P.; Bolognia, Jean L.; Jorizzo, Joseph L. (2007). Dermatology: 2-Volume Set. St. Louis: Mosby. ISBN 1-4160-2999-0. 
  2. ^ "Cancer hope over breast gene find", BBC, 1 September 2005; references the rate of extra nipples appearing in humans.
  3. ^ Kajava Y. "The proportions of supernumerary nipples in the Finnish population". Duodecim 1915; 1:143-70.
  4. ^ Revis, Don R. Jr., MD. "Breast Embryology". eMedicine. Retrieved 3 December 2007. 
  5. ^ "Pseudomamma on the foot: An unusual presentation of supernumerary breast tissue". Retrieved 3 December 2007. 
  6. ^ Rajaratnam K, Kumar PD, Sahasranam KV (2000). "Supernumerary nipple as a cutaneous marker of mitral valve prolapse in Asian Indians". Am. J. Cardiol. 86 (6): 695–697. doi:10.1016/S0002-9149(00)01057-2. PMID 10980229. 
  7. ^ Newson, Ainsley (1 September 2005). "Bond villain's nipple triple gives clues to breast cancer treatment". Times Online. Times Newspapers. Archived from the original on 4 March 2007. Retrieved 3 March 2013. 
  8. ^   (28 January 2012). "Lily Allen Has a Third Nipple! Seven Celebrities With Extra Body Parts - Gallery - Lily Allen Has a Third Nipple! Seven Celebrities With Extra Body Parts". Retrieved 4 February 2013. 
  9. ^ "5 celebrities, 15 nipples (you do the math)". Fox News. Retrieved 4 February 2013. 
  10. ^ Mingus, Charles (1991). Beneath the Underdog: His World as Composed by Mingus (1st Vintage Books ed. ed.). New York: Vintage Books. ISBN 0679737618. 
  11. ^ Theobald, Mikel. "14 Celebrities With Quirky Body Parts". Everyday Health. Retrieved 24 July 2014. 
  12. ^ "The truth about One Direction star Harry Styles' 'weird' 4 nipples! - now". 10 January 2013. Retrieved 4 February 2013. 
  13. ^ Fiona Roberts (20 July 2011). "Woman grows nipple on foot: Lily Allen and Zac Efron have extra nipples too | Mail Online". Retrieved 4 February 2013. 
  14. ^ Robertson, Cameron (2 February 2005). "My 3 Nipples; Stunned Radio 1 DJ Jo tells of bizarre discovery". The Mirror (Trinity Mirror). Retrieved 9 April 2013. 
  15. ^ Throwback | First Cut: The Triple Nipple Club | Free Video Clips from Channel 4
  16. ^ Channel 4 - FourDocs blog - First Cut line-up
  17. ^ - Mark Wahlberg's third nipple love
  18. ^ YouTube - Lilly Allen Third Nipple
  19. ^ Salon | Why do men have nipples?