Breast Ptosis Diagram: How Breasts Fall
Based on your individual genetics, pregnancy history and weight changes, breasts will sag to varying degrees. Plastic surgeons use a classification system to categorize the degree of breast sagging, or ptosis, as shown in the schematic below. This classification system also helps Dr. Parker determine what treatment options are best for an individual based on the amount of their breast ptosis.
- A normal breast has the nipple and parenchyma (glandular tissue and fat which compose the breast) of the breast sitting above the crease underneath the breast, or the inframammary fold.
- Grade 1 ptosis is mild sagging in which the nipple lies at the level of the inframammary fold and the parenchyma below it.
- Grade 2 ptosis is moderate sagging in which the nipple lies below the level of the inframammary fold but remains above the lowest hanging (or most dependent) part of the parenchyma.
- Grade 3 ptosis is severe sagging in which the nipple lies well below the inframammary fold and lies at the bottom of the breast, at the lowest hanging part of the parenchyma along the inferior contour of the breast.
- Pseudoptosis is not true ptosis, or sagging, because the nipple lies above or at the level of the inframammary fold. However, the majority of the breast parenchyma has descended below the level of the fold.
- Parenchymal maldistribution involves a lack of fullness in the lower portion of the breast, a high inframammary fold and a relatively short distance from the fold to the nipple. This is seen in conditions such as a tuberous breast.
Plastic Surgery Resources
Read more about Breast Lift (Mastopexy) Procedures and Options
- Learn about the different ways in which breasts sag
- Learn what type of breast lift procedure may be right for you
- Read about breast lift surgery & recovery
- Learn how we help you test breast implants and find the right size during your sizing and shaping session
- View our animated breast lift procedure information
- Learn about the saline & silicone breast implants, your profile choices & more
- Learn about the emotional considerations associated with breast surgery