Viral image of human milk ducts not accurate, taken as screenshot from anatomy app
Updated April 27, 2019 11:25:58
An image claiming to depict human milk ducts that went viral and shocked some viewers was unrealistically symmetrical and anatomically incorrect.
- The widely shared image startled some viewers and prompted contrasting reactions
- It wrongly depicts milk ducts as skeletal muscle
- An expert said the image may have surprised some people as breasts were typically depicted as simply fatty tissue
The inaccurate image was first circulated on the internet in 2016 and has been revealed to be a screenshot from an iPad app.
It depicts almost flower-like structures as muscles clustered around a central point but breasts do not actually contain skeletal muscle.
What is shown is likely an attempt to render lobules but not a correct depiction of milk ducts, Science Alert reports.
Female reproductive biologist Professor Christopher Murphy from the University of Sydney School of Medicine described the picture as “highly diagrammatic and symmetrical”.
“Histologically and anatomically, milk ducts are much more unevenly dispersed throughout the tissue,” Professor Murphy said.
The incorrect image prompted contrasting reactions on social media.
Some said they were creeped out by the depiction.
Some saw beauty in the image, while others found humour.
Professor Murphy said people may have found the diagram confronting or surprising because “breasts are shown as something other than just fatty tissue”.
“Something approaching anatomy and histology is depicted rather than just something pretty vanilla,” he said.
The image went viral after being posted to Twitter on Monday (AEST), with over 140,000 likes and 46,000 retweets.
Breast milk is drained from the lobules in the mammary gland to the nipple when triggered by hormones.
When a woman is not lactating, milk ducts are blocked by a plug of keratin — the same material that makes up hair, nails and the outer layer of skin.
This plug helps prevent bacteria from entering the duct.
First posted April 27, 2019 11:10:06