How do I know if I need a Breast Lift or Mastopexy?


It seems like that for women in this country, there can be an ongoing tug-of-war relationship with their breasts. If a woman has an A cup breast in her early twenties, and feels out of proportion, then she may elect to get Breast Augmentation. And if a woman has a proportionate size breast in her early twenties, and experiences pregnancy and breast feeding or significant weight change, she may show some loss of size and more commonly, shape, and choose to have this restored later on. Half kidding, I tell my patients that it seems that the only way to avoid this “breast challenge”, is to be blessed with a small, perky B cup, never have children or gain weight, and be French… All others may find themselves, at some point, wondering about their breasts.   

How much Breast droop is too much Breast droop?

This is such a common question and at times a very difficult one to answer because there are so many variables. But let’s start with the basics and go from there.

A quick and easy way for those of you playing along at home to “guess” if you might need a breast lift is the “Pencil Test”. How this sometimes embarrassing test goes is you take a pencil and slide it up under your breast, parallel to the floor. Now let go. If the pencil drops to the floor, you passed! But… if it stays put and does not fall to the floor, then you “failed” and you probably need a lift. Now we joke and say that if you can then hold lawn furniture or small animals under there, you really do need a breast lift. But getting back to basics, there are 3 general presentations we see with breasts. There are really many more than that but let’s look just at 3 basic ones. 

Phoenix Breast Lift

This first example shows a young woman who does NOT need a Breast Lift. She has no breast tissue sitting on her abdomen, obviously passing the pencil test, and her nipple and areola are not the lowest part on her breast.

Scottsdale Breast Lift

This second example is a bit different than the first. She does have some breast tissue resting on her abdomen and her nipple/areola complex is the lowest part of her breast. She would fail the “Pencil Test” but just barely. I call this the “In-Between Breast” and it can be the most challenging. She has just a bit too much droop to have implants alone, and yet, not enough droop to jump right to a full Breast Lift or Mastopexy. The reason I say challenging, is because this is the type of presentation where if just implants are placed, patients might be happy at first, but by 6 months, gravity has taken over and there is a lot of droop, and they are now in the doctor’s office wondering why they aren’t “perkier”. This is a candidate for a Mini-Breast Lift or Donut Mastopexy, which is sometimes considered a “compromise operation” for that in-between reason.

Gilbert Breast LiftThis last example shows severe droop, able to hold a box of pencils.  The nipple/areola complex is at the bottom of the breast, and total loss of volume in the upper part of the breast. Implants alone are out of the question and even the Mini-Breast Lift or Donut Lift will work in this case. She needs the Full Breast Lift or Mastopexy!

Now the question is… do any of these pictures look familiar???

If you would like more information on breast lifts or mastopexy, contact our experienced breast surgeon, Dr. John Corey for a personalized consultation.  We happily welcome patients from Phoenix, Scottsdale, Gilbert, Mesa, Chandler, Tempe and nearby areas in Arizona.