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Do Your Breasts Pass the Pencil Test?

Posted March 01, 2024 in Breast Lift

With age comes the effects of gravity on our skin and underlying body tissues. For women, this leads to the inevitable question: What to do about sagging breasts? The pencil test, born of cultural beliefs and beauty standards, is one method used to assess breast firmness. In this blog post, we’ll explore the pencil test and what women can do if they find themselves “failing” the test.

5 Min Read:

What is the Pencil Test?

A woman wearing a white bra, and arrows show how her surgery repositioned her breasts.

The origins of the pencil test are somewhat murky, but over time, the test has become more widely known and used in various contexts as a measure of breast droop.

The pencil test involves placing a pencil or similar object under the breast to determine if it stays in place without support. If the breast can hold the pencil without it falling, it is often considered to be “failing” the test, indicating a lack of breast firmness.

However, the pencil test fails to consider the many factors influencing breast firmness, including genetics, age, hormonal changes, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and weight fluctuations. As such, it’s become more of a fun exercise that some women use to track changes in their breasts.

What to Do If You “Fail” the Pencil Test?

It’s important to remember that the pencil test is not a reliable indicator of health, beauty, or self-worth. Instead of emphasizing arbitrary beauty standards, women should prioritize their overall health and wellness. However, if your well-being includes restoring youthful breast position and shape, a breast lift is the best way to achieve this goal.

Whether due to pregnancy, breastfeeding, weight fluctuations, or aging, many women experience changes in breast shape and firmness over time. Breast lift surgery, also known as mastopexy, is designed to raise and reshape sagging breasts to create a younger-looking and uplifted upper body appearance.

Benefits of Breast Lift Surgery

You can expect the following benefits from breast lift surgery:

  • Restored breast contours: Breast lift surgery can help you achieve youthful breast contours by lifting and reshaping sagging breast tissue.
  • Improved breast symmetry: If you’ve experienced breast asymmetry, where one breast is larger or lower than the other. Breast lift surgery can correct this by lifting and reshaping both breasts to achieve a more balanced appearance.
  • Increased breast firmness: Over time, the skin and supporting tissues of the breasts can lose elasticity, resulting in a loss of firmness and fullness. Breast lift surgery tightens and firms the breast tissue, creating a youthful and perky appearance.
  • Enhanced appearance in clothing: Sagging breasts can make it challenging to find clothing that fits well and flatters your figure. Breast lift surgery can improve the fit of clothing and allow you to wear a wider range of styles confidently.
  • Boosted self-confidence: Sagging breasts can lead to feelings of self-consciousness or dissatisfaction. Breast lift surgery can boost self-confidence and improve body image by providing natural-looking results that enhance the overall appearance of your breasts.

The 5 Steps of a Breast Lift Procedure

1. The Consultation

The first step in breast lift surgery is a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon. During this consultation, your surgeon will evaluate your breast anatomy, discuss your aesthetic goals, and explain the surgical technique and potential risks and complications.

2. Anesthesia

Breast lift surgery is typically performed under general anesthesia to ensure your comfort and safety during the procedure. In some cases, local anesthesia with sedation may be used.

3. Incision Placement

Your surgeon will make incisions on the breasts according to the selected technique, which may include a periareolar incision (around the areola), a vertical incision (from the areola to the breast crease), or an anchor-shaped incision (around the areola, vertically down the breast, and along the breast crease).

4. Reshaping and Lifting

Once the incisions are made, your surgeon will lift and reshape the breast tissue to achieve the desired contour and elevation. Excess skin may be removed, and the nipple and areola complex may be repositioned to a higher position on the breast mound.

5. Closure

After the breast tissue is reshaped and lifted, your surgeon will close the incisions with sutures, skin adhesives, or surgical tape. Dressings and a supportive bra may be applied to aid in healing and support the breasts.

Recovery After Breast Lift Surgery

The recovery period is as crucial to your safety and results as the surgery itself. You can ensure the best of each by following your surgeon’s instructions closely.

  • Immediate postoperative period: After breast lift surgery, you may experience some swelling, bruising, and discomfort in the breasts. Your surgeon will prescribe pain medications to help manage any discomfort, and you may be advised to wear a supportive bra or compression garment to minimize swelling and provide support to the breasts.
  • Rest and recovery: It’s essential to take time off from work, household chores, and other responsibilities to rest and allow your body to heal properly. Avoid strenuous activities, heavy lifting, and exercise for several weeks following surgery to prevent complications and promote optimal healing.
  • Follow-up appointments: You’ll have follow-up appointments with your plastic surgeon to monitor your progress, remove any sutures or dressings, and ensure you’re healing properly. Be sure to attend these appointments as scheduled and communicate openly with your surgeon about any concerns or questions you may have.

Long-Term Results of Breast Lift Surgery

While the initial swelling and bruising will gradually subside in the weeks following surgery, it may take several months for your final results to become apparent. By avoiding significant weight fluctuations, your breast lift surgery results can be long-lasting, providing improved breast shape and contour for many years.

Breast Lift Surgery in Pasadena, CA

Pencil test aside, breast lift surgery is a highly effective cosmetic procedure that can restore youthful contours to sagging breasts and enhance overall body proportions.

If you’re considering breast lift surgery near Pasadena, California, call Dr. Taylor’s office at (626) 988-4287 to schedule a consultation. Our board-certified plastic surgeon is committed to providing excellent cosmetic breast surgery results while adhering to the strictest safety standards.

Thomas S. Taylor, MD, FACS

The Aesthetic Society American Society of Plastic Surgery Fellow American College of Surgeons American Board of Plastic Surgery ABMS MOC American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery

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