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What Is the Pencil Test for Sagging Breasts?

Excess tissue in the breasts that tends to pull them into a downward trajectory (medically referred to as breast ptosis) is a common cosmetic concern for many women. The drooping appearance can be caused by a variety of factors, including pregnancy and breastfeeding, the natural aging process, weight fluctuations, and even genetics. For many women, a breast lift (mastopexy) is an effective solution for addressing breast ptosis and altered body proportions. This surgical procedure can provide a rejuvenated look by giving the breasts a more youthful projection and producing smoother, firmer breast tissue. 

To determine if a breast lift is right for you, consider doing the “pencil test”: 

  1. Remove all garments on the top half of your body, including your bra 
  2. In front of a mirror, stand up straight with your shoulders back 
  3. Take a pencil and place it underneath the crease of your breast 
  4. While maintaining strong posture, observe what the pencil does 

If the pencil falls immediately, that means that breast sagging may not be particularly severe; therefore, breast lift surgery may not be necessary for aesthetic improvement at this time. If the pencil remains in place, then you may be a mastopexy candidate. 

During the initial consultation with our plastic surgeon, your degree of breast ptosis will be assessed and the right breast lift approach for you will be discussed. If breast volume loss is also of concern, breast implants combined with a breast lift may be recommended for both size enhancement and improvements in firmness.

At Premier Plastic Surgery and Aesthetics, board-certified plastic surgeon, John M. Sarbak, MD, takes great care to develop personalized treatment plans that prioritize each patient’s individual needs and cosmetic goals. For more information about breast lift surgery, contact our office to schedule a consultation.