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Adam G. Tattlebaum M.D.

The Pencil Test For Breasts

The internet has a lot of confusing and conflicting information.

For those of you reading my blogs (and I hope you do), I try to clarify concepts about the aesthetics of the body and give my personal experience. The pencil test is one of those concepts.

What is the pencil test for breasts?

Somewhere, sometime, someone on the internet declared that if you could hold a pencil under the fold of your breast, your breast was too droopy, or your implant too saggy, or your breast lift was not good enough.

I beg to differ.

If you can’t hold a pencil under the fold, then you have what I call “gravity-defying breasts“. There are two groups of women who have gravity-defying breasts:

  • Women who have little or no breast tissue at all
  • Teenagers where the skin has not yet relaxed

Any woman with a reasonable amount of natural breast tissue will eventually gain some droop. The skin relaxes over time as we age. Pregnancy, weight gain and weight loss can certainly affect this.

But guess what?

I think a little droop is a good thing.

It is the sign of a mature, normal, and, most importantly, natural-looking breast. In heavier-breasted women, a breast lift or reduction will always regain some droop over time as gravity weighs on the breast that remains.

The skin is smarter than the doctor. Skin responds to gravity and relaxes over time (thank goodness, or my tummy tuck patients would never stand straight again). In fact, in breast augmentation, a little droop tends to look more natural and hide the implant better.

So as you read this, please know that I spent my life trying to improve upon or find a balance in the degree of droop. Too much droop and a breast lift and or reduction may be in your future. A little droop and some volume enhancement in the form of an implant may be the way to go. The key is to find the right balance.

October 7, 2011 3:47 pm
Categories: Blog, Breast Lift, Cosmetic Surgery, Plastic Surgery

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