Breast ptosis is the medical term for drooping breast tissue. The most important thing to know is that it’s completely natural to experience some degree of sagging as your breasts change over time. Factors such as pregnancy, weight gain and loss, bra cup size, genetics and even gravity can all contribute to diminished skin elasticity that causes breasts to lose their youthful position.
While natural, changes in your breast appearance may cause you to feel self-conscious. For example, your breasts may not look the same as they once did in clothing or swimsuits. If you are bothered by breast sagging, keep reading to learn about the different degrees of ptosis and how a breast lift may help restore a more youthful look.
Determining Your Degree of Breast Sagging
You may have heard that you can determine the extent of your breast sagging with something called the pencil test. This test involves placing a pencil along the breast crease and seeing if the breast droops enough to hold the pencil in place. While this can be a helpful trick, it is not a suitable indicator of breast ptosis.
Instead, there is a widely accepted classification system that offers a more precise way to measure the degree of sagging. This system primarily measures the location of the nipple in relation to the breast crease and breast tissue. A simplified version includes the following classifications:
- Mild Ptosis (Grade I): This degree of sagging occurs when the breasts sag slightly below the breast crease. If your nipple is near the level of the breast crease and above a significant portion of the lower breast tissue, you may have mild ptosis.
- Moderate Ptosis (Grade II): If your nipple falls further below the breast crease but higher than some of your lower breast tissue, you may have moderate ptosis.
- Advanced Ptosis (Grade III): Advanced ptosis occurs when your nipple position is well below the breast crease and lower breast tissue.
There are other types of ptosis in addition to those listed above. For example, it’s possible to have pseudoptosis, where the nipple remains elevated while the lower half of the breast sags. This form of ptosis is especially common after breastfeeding.
The best way to determine the extent of your breast ptosis is by scheduling an in-person consultation with board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. David Robinson. From there, he can help you find an appropriate solution.
Improving Sagging with a Breast Lift
No matter the degree of sagging you are experiencing, losing the youthful firmness and shape of your breasts may cause you to feel self-conscious about your appearance. In that situation, you may want to consider a breast lift to elevate your breast contour.
Also known as mastopexy, a breast lift is often the ideal way to correct ptosis. It works to raise the breast by removing excess skin and reshaping the surrounding tissue. Simultaneously, a surgical lift can significantly elevate nipple position. If enlarged areolas are a concern, the procedure can address that as well.
In some cases, it may be necessary to combine your breast lift with another breast procedure to achieve the desired results. For example, Dr. Robinson may suggest a combined breast augmentation and lift if you are dealing with significant volume loss or want to enhance the size of your breasts. Conversely, he may recommend a breast reduction and lift if your breasts are too large for your frame and causing you physical problems.
Schedule Your Munster or Valparaiso Consultation
To learn more about breast sagging and your options for surgical correction, call 219-513-2100 to schedule a consultation. At Indiana Plastic Surgery, we happily welcome patients from across Indiana and Illinois.