The Pencil Test – Do I Need a Breast Lift?

Photograph of a woman with a pencil When women call our Fort Worth office to schedule an appointment for cosmetic breast surgery, we ask a few questions.  One of those questions is some variation of, “Do you think you may need a lift?”.  A pretty common response goes something like, “I don’t think so.  How would I know?”.  Here’s a pretty simple way to check:  the pencil test.

Breasts where it’s easy to tell if you need a breast lift

Photograph of a woman with breast ptosis before breast lift surgery in Fort Worth Sometimes it’s pretty easy to tell that you’ll need a lift to achieve a great result.  In a situation like the photograph above, the nipples are really low.  In the “ideal” breasts, nipples are a little above the bra line.   If your nipples are really low, or maybe pointed down, a breast lift will probably be needed to look really good.  The photo above shows a woman before she underwent breast augmentation and breast lift surgery in a Fort Worth outpatient surgery center.  If you want to see her result, click here.

Breasts where it’s no so easy to tell if you need a breast lift

Photograph of a woman with glandular ptosis bottom heavy breasts before breast lift in Fort Worth A lot of women have breasts where the situation is less clear.  A woman who has breasts like those in the photograph above might not know if she should undergo breast lift surgery.  These women have what we call ‘glandular ptosis’.  The nipples are in good position, but there’s a bottom-heavy appearance of the breasts.  The lower areas of the breasts droop down below the bra line.  In these cases, a breast lift doesn’t lift the nipples.  It tightens the lower parts of the breasts.   The photo above shows a woman before she underwent breast lift with breast augmentation.  If you’d like to see her result, click here.

How can you see where the bra line is?

The pencil test is a pretty easy way to figure this out.  Grab a pencil and go stand in front of a bathroom mirror.  Lift one of your breasts up, place the pencil in the crease, then let go of the breast.  If the breast hangs down enough to hold the pencil in place, you might benefit from a lift.

If the pencil does stay in place, check out a couple things.  The pencil indicates the approximate location of the bra line.  Look at where the nipples are in relation to the pencil.  Remember that in “ideal” breasts the nipples would be a little above the pencil (bra line).  Also look at how much breast tissue hangs down below the pencil.  If there’s a lot, a breast lift will move that up and tighten it.

The pencil test doesn’t really tell us that a woman should undergo a breast lift.  Each person has her own ideas of what she wants to achieve.  A woman who has had a few children or maybe lost some weight might consider trying this simple test.  If the breast tissue and/or the nipples are headed south of the pencil, mastopexy surgery is something to at least consider.

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