We all want to look and feel our best, with the perky contours of our youth and the confidence it gives us. Though with time, we can be faced with the reality that things don’t often stay the same as they were when we were younger.
Over time breasts tend to go south. This natural drooping is known as breast ptosis. Breasts lose their youthful fullness and shape under the influence of gravity. Ageing, weight fluctuations, pregnancy, and breast-feeding can also contribute to breast drooping, and it tends to be more common to large-busted women. However, premature breast droop has also been seen in younger women, especially in younger women with poor skin quality and a tendency towards developing stretch marks.
The good news is, there are means to correct this drooping and restore your breasts to their youthful perkiness. The options to improve the appearance of the breasts include breast augmentation and breast lift surgery (also known as mastopexy). But what’s the difference?
Breast augmentation is primarily done to enhance breast volume and shape using a breast implant. On the other hand, mastopexy aims to uplift the nipple-areolar complex and reshape the breast by removing excess skin and breast tissue. When you have breast droop and volume loss, thanks to any number of factors, a combination of lifting and implants is the best solution. This is called an augmentation-mastopexy.
It’s your plastic surgeon who will recommend which treatment to opt for, based on your preferences and the current state of your breasts. The severity of breast ptosis was beautifully classified by Dr Regnault a French surgeon. Severity is based on the extent of the descent of the nipples. Grade I is diagnosed when the nipple is at or up to 1 cm below the breast crease. Grade II ptosis, the nipple at a level 1 to 3 cm below the crease. Grade III ptosis, the nipple is more than 3 cm below the crease. The grade of ptosis helps your plastic surgeon recommend the type of lift that will correct the problem.
Do you think you might have breast ptosis? An easy test for breast droop is the ‘pencil test’, a test that you can do yourself. Simply place a pencil at the breast crease; this is the lower fold of the breast. If the pencil falls out, you probably don’t have ptosis. If the pencil is held in place between your breast and chest, you probably have breast ptosis.
If you are considering breast implants, you may also wonder if you should opt for a breast lift in conjunction with your augmentation. This is because you may have noticed your breasts are already leaning towards potential drooping. A test to help judge whether a lift is needed along with your augmentation is the ‘2 cm test’, as described below. It’s another easy test that you can do yourself at home.
- First, draw an imaginary line across your chest from your lower fold of the left breast to the right.
- Measure 2 cm upwards from that imaginary line and draw a second line across the chest. Standing upright, look at the position of your nipples relative to the lines.
- If the nipple is in line with the top line: Breast augmentation alone will suffice.
- If the nipple position is within the two lines: A periareolar lift combined with breast augmentation is recommended.
- If the nipple position is the bottom line: a vertical lolly-pop type lift with breast auto-augmentation or implants for extra volume is necessitated.
While normal breasts come in all sorts of beautiful shapes and sizes, cosmetic breast surgery is a totally individual decision based on one’s personal preference. If you would like to find out more about whether breast augmentation or lift will suit you better, feel free to contact me for a consultation and I will help guide you to achieve the best look and feel for your breasts. My team and I will be happy to assist you.