Viral picture of female 'milk ducts' revealed to be a mistake

A picture purporting to show what boobs look like on the inside has been revealed to be a mistake.

The picture, which showed a flower pattern of what it said was "milk ducts" is originally from an anatomy app on the Apple Store and completely incorrect, website Science Alert reports.

The picture first appeared on the internet in 2016 via a screenshot from the app before it went viral in a tweet earlier this week.

Multiple media outlets covered the tweet, which annoyed science writer Signe Dean - who decided to get to the bottom of where it came from.

"Nobody bothered to find the original source or even verify that this is anatomically correct, so obviously I went and did both."

She wrote the picture is correct in that milk ducts are inside the breast, but they don't at all look like the image.

"Cells, called alveoli, cluster into lumps known as lobules, which in turn connect to the nipple via a bunch of lactiferous ducts (or milk ducts), narrow channels that basically direct the milk to the baby's mouthpiece - the nipple.

"So, those flower-shaped things are definitely not ducts. They probably represent the lobules, except in a real human breast they are not arranged in such a neat pattern at all."

Even people trying to debunk the picture got it wrong too, with Dean pointing out a popular Facebook page's suggestion it was based on an 1840s cadaver's milk ducts injected with wax is also incorrect.

Twitter users thanked Dean for getting involved, many commenting the image had bothered them immensely.

It seemed off to me just based on the sensations I've experienced while nursing my children. It's definitely a lot more dispersed than the incorrect image would suggest," one person said.

"Thank GOD. I almost threw up thinking about those hideous things. It's somehow much less gross if they're scattered throughout the breast?" another wrote.