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Do you have Breast Ptosis?

Breast ptosis is one of the common conditions treated by our plastic surgeons along with tubular and asymmetric breasts.

Breast ptosis is drooping of the breast and is known as a term to describe how your nipple sits in relation to your sternal notch (the point where your 2 collarbones meet your central breastbone) and your inframammary fold (the fold underneath the breast).

What causes Breast ptosis?

Generally breast ptosis is just natural effect of ageing however cigarette smoking, number of pregnancies, body mass index, large cup size, and significant weight gain or loss can contribute to the rate that your breasts drop and the degree of ptosis.

It was once rumoured that breastfeeding could attribute to breast sagging. University of Kentucky Plastic surgeon Brian Rinke decided to undertake a study of this claim and it was eventually concluded that “Expectant mothers should be reassured that breastfeeding does not appear to have an adverse effect upon breast appearance.”

How do you categorise Breast ptosis?

Breast ptosis is measured on a scale known as the ptosis scale which helps plastic surgeons describe the extent of the condition.

A good way to work out if you suffer from breast ptosis at home is by using a straight object such as a pencil. Take your pencil and place it at the inframammary fold under your breast. You will then need to look in the mirror from your side and using the table below work out which stage applies to you.

Nipple PositionSolution
Your nipple lies above the pencil and you are happy with the amount of volume in your breasts.breast-ptosis-stage-1-aurora-part-of-the-private-clinicYour nipple sits in a good position and you have a good amount of breast tissue therefore you wouldn’t need breast surgery unless you have a specific concern.
Your nipple lies above the pencil but you lack volume in the top part of your breast.breast-ptosis-stage-2-aurora-part-of-the-private-clinicYou don’t suffer from breast ptosis but you may be suitable for a breast implant to increase the volume in the upper pole of your breast.
Your nipple is level with the pencil.breast-ptosis-stage-3-aurora-part-of-the-private-clinicYou do suffer from slight nipple descent so we would class this as moderate breast ptosis. In most cases, a simple breast enlargement is sufficient enough to lift the nipple to a slightly elevated position. If you wanted a significant lift then the two procedures; breast augmentation and uplift could be combined.
Your nipple lies below the pencil and you lack volume in the breast.breast-ptosis-stage-4-aurora-part-of-the-private-clinicYou do suffer from breast ptosis and therefore are suitable for an uplift procedure but you are also likely to need an implant to re-volumise the bust. An implant alone is unlikely to give you sufficient lift.
Your nipple lies below the pencil but you are happy with the amount of breast tissue.breast-ptosis-stage-5-aurora-part-of-the-private-clinicIn this case, you would be suitable for a breast uplift procedure to lift the nipple and retain the natural volume in the bust.

The solution

If you have breast ptosis then you will be looking at breast uplift surgery also known as a Mastopexy which may, or may not be combined with breast augmentation surgery.

It is important when considering a mastopexy to be aware that the scaring can be quite extensive. The scar is known as the lollipop scar and runs around the circumference of your areola and down to the inframammary fold. Of course, if looked after correctly after surgery then these scars will fade over time.

The Golden Triangle

Another way to determine if you suffer from breast ptosis is ‘The Golden Triangle’ technique. The golden triangle ‘rule’ states that the distance between both your nipples should be exactly the same as the distance from each nipple to your sternal notch. This triangle should be equilateral and the apparent ‘perfect’ dimensions are 21cm x 21cm x 21cm (Don’t worry too much – we tried this out on the ladies in the office and no one had a perfect 21!). If the distance between your sternal notch and your nipple is longer than the distance between one nipple to the other then your breast triangle will be isosceles rather than equilateral. This means your nipples are sitting too low and you may be suffering from breast droop to some extent.

Breast specialist and Consultant Plastic Surgeon Mr Adrian Richards explains the triangle in more detail in the following video;

The Private Clinic

The Private Clinic is experienced in both minimally invasive and surgical breast reduction, enlargement and uplift procedures, so you will have the chance to discuss alternative procedures with a surgeon who is familiar with all techniques. We take the hard work out of choosing your surgeon because we only work with doctors who lead their field and have performed hundreds of successful procedures.

Our expert Plastic Surgeons team include:

Consultations are available in London Harley Street, Birmingham, Bristol, Buckinghamshire, Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester and Northampton.

To find out more about breast surgery you can call us on 0333 920 2471 or use our breast surgery online contact form to request a call back.

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