As women age, the breasts naturally drop. The ligaments which help keep the breasts firm start to stretch and the breast begins to drop with natural aging and gravity. Pregnancy and breast feeding contribute to breast engorgement and although the breast can return to normal position, there is often a drop in breast tissue toward the lower half of the breast and persistent stretching of the skin around the breast.
Fortunately, a breast lift (Mastopexy) can be performed to help improve sagging breasts.
Cosmetic surgeons classify the amount of breast sag or ptosis (pronounced “toe-sis”) into mild (Stage I), moderate (Stage II) or severe (Stage III) based on the position of the breast crease and the nipple.
Stage I (mild): For women categorized in stage one, the breasts shape are considered to be in mild decline from their previous appearance. There will be slight drooping occurring, with the position of the nipples no longer pointed forward, but positioned to the level of the breast creases.
Stage II (moderate): Patients in stage two are considered to have moderate sagging and drooping within the breasts. At this point, the position of the nipples is now facing in a downward position, below the breast creases.
Stage III (severe): The most severe stage of sagging and drooping within the breasts, stage three consists of extremely lower sitting breasts. In this stage, the nipples will be far below the breast creases, and will be completely pointing toward the ground.
To determine the amount of sagging, stand in front of the mirror and place your finger under your breast crease. Note the position of the nipple. Is the nipple above your finger, below the finger, or well below the finger and pointing to the ground?
Another way plastic surgeons determine the need for breast lift or mastopexy is to measure the nipple from the top of the sternum (breast bone). Ideally, the nipple to the sternum should be the same for both breasts and in younger patients is typically 19 centimeters (7.6 inches) The distance between the nipples should be the same distance (19 centimeters or 7.6 inches)
With pregnancies, age, and gravity, the nipples can drop from a more perky or youthful position to 26 or 27 centimeters (10.8 inches) from the sternal or breast bone notch.
Another important measurement when considering breast lift or Mastopexy is the distance from the nipple to the bottom of the breast or inframammary crease. This can be 4 to 10 centimeters and depends on the amount of breast tissue.
Often, patients will consult us for a breast augmentation when they really would benefit from a breast lift or mastopexy. For some patients, a mastopexy or breast lift can be combined with a breast augmentation.
Think of the breast augmentation as increasing the size of the breast and the breast lift or mastopexy as improving the breast position.
To determine if you are a good candidate for a breast lift procedure, schedule an initial consultation with Dr. Mark Mandell-Brown in Cincinnati, Ohio. During your initial consultation you can discuss what expectations you have and what results a breast lift can provide.
More breast lift information:
“I believe that the best approach for a successful breast lift surgery is good communication between the plastic surgeon and the patient.” ~ Dr. Mandell-Brown