Woman, 51, with 34GG breasts claims tight-fitting ‘underwire’ bras have left her with a gaping hole in her chest after they caused a 4cm-cyst that needed cutting out
- Lynne McConnell felt painful lump forming in middle of her chest last June
- She was prescribed antibiotics when doctors mistook cyst for infected abscess
- Rushed into surgery and had it cut out a month later when drugs didn’t work
- She was left with a gaping wound in her chest that took three months to heal
A 51-year-old woman claims tight-fitting bras have left her with a gaping hole in her chest.
Lynne McConnell had been wearing ‘underwire’ bras – which are fitted with a thin strip of rigid material beneath the breasts – for 15 years.
But in June last year a painful pea-sized lump formed in the middle of her chest.
Mrs McConnell, who has 34GG breasts, went to A&E when it quickly grew into a 4cm rock-hard cyst.
Lynne McConnell has been wearing underwire bras (shown) – which are fitted with a thin strip of rigid material under the breasts – for 15 years
But in June last year she noticed a ‘pea-shaped’ lump in the middle of her chest which grew bigger and became more painful
The Scot, who moved to Brighton five years ago, was forced to have it cut off, leaving a gaping wound in the middle of her chest
She was prescribed antibiotics when doctors mistook the cyst for an abscess caused by infection.
But the tablets didn’t work and she was forced to go to her local breast clinic a month later.
She had to have the lump surgically removed, leaving her with an open wound that couldn’t be stitched up, needed dressing daily and took three months to heal.
Mrs McConnell said the scar is still tender and she has to wear loose sports bras.
Surgeons told Ms McConnell the wired-bra blocked her pores and caused the cyst to develop.
She said she wanted to raise awareness about the dangers of tight-fitting bras so other women don’t go through similar ordeals.
WHAT ARE CYSTS, AND WHAT CAUSES THEM?
Inside the skin there are numerous tiny glands that produce sebum, the oil that helps to lubricate the skin.
The oil reaches the skin via a tiny duct, or tube, and if one of these becomes blocked, the glands can swell up, producing a cyst.
The blocking of pores may occur from pressure or tight garments pressing against the skin.
Cysts are closed capsule or sac-like structures, typically filled with liquid, semisolid, or gaseous material, very much like a blister.
Usually cysts aren’t harmful, but occasionally they can become infected (which makes them sore ).
Though you can sometimes reduce the size of a cyst by giving it a squeeze, they often fill up again, and the only way to get rid of them for good is to cut them out surgically.
This is usually a simple procedure that can be done under local anaesthetic, and you may find that your Gp can do it in your local surgery. So make an appointment.
She added: ‘Something has clearly gone wrong and all I want is for people to learn from what has happened.
‘I don’t want anyone else to go through what I have. It really affected my self-esteem for a long time.
‘I couldn’t wear a bra for weeks and I try to take pride in how I look. It wasn’t nice at all.’
The Scot, who moved from Glasgow to Brighton five years ago, has been buying underwire bras since 2003.
She was fitted by experts in a shop, but had to return numerous times over the years to complain of tightness.
Mrs McConnell, who has been married to wife Honor for eight years, was repeatedly told by shop assistants that ‘it was just how the bras fit’.
She even resorted to stuffing tissue underneath her bras to add comfort and relieve the pain.
‘It was absolutely awful,’ she said.
‘I felt miserable all the time and it really affected my confidence. That hole was the first and last thing I thought about everyday.’
British Skincare Foundation dermatologist Dr Adil Sheraz said tight clothing like underwire bras are known to cause cysts.
Mrs McConnell said her wound was still tender and she needs to wear loose-fitting sports bras
She wants to raise awareness about the dangers of underwire bras so other women don’t have to go through similar ordeals
He said sacs containing semi-fluid material, which looks like cottage cheese, can form on the skin as a result of wearing overly tight clothes.
He added: ‘Cysts ares a benign growths that form under the skin. They are lined with epithelium, a layer of cells, that often forms the ‘sac’ which will contain semi-fluid material, which often has the appearance and consistency of cottage cheese.
‘They are often defined based on their location, for example pilar cysts often from on the scalp.
‘Cysts can be inherited or acquired. Inherited conditions, such as Gardner’s syndrome, can result in multiple cysts.
‘Cysts form when cells start multiply inwards rather than being shed on the surface.
‘Why some people form cysts is not entirely known however they can often be caused by a blockage at the site of a hair follicle opening, as a result of a blocked pore or even injury to the skin.
‘The blocking of pores may occur from pressure or tight garments and potentially cause formation of cysts.’