A common topic among breast augmentation patients at my suburban Chicago practice and elsewhere is how well surgery can correct sagging, which is also referred to as “breast ptosis.” During breast enhancement consultations, I explain that this common condition is “graded” by surgeons based on a universal system. If you’re considering cosmetic breast surgery, you can grade your breast appearance fairly easily to determine your own degree of sagging.

First, place a ruler flat against your ribcage directly under your natural breast crease. Have someone take a photograph from the level of the nipple, draw a line parallel to the floor (straight forward) and then assess your photo using this guide:

Grade I – Mild: The nipple is at or above the line you have drawn.

Grade II – Moderate: The center of the nipple is below the line you have drawn, but remains above the most projecting part of the breast.

Grade III – Advanced: The nipple is well below the line you have drawn, and is at the lowest point of the contour of the breast.

Breast augmentation is an extremely effective procedure, but patients who have higher grades of breast sagging may be candidates for combining augmentation with a breast lift. Regardless of what grade you may have given your breasts, it’s important to seek out the experience of a board-certified plastic surgeon to accurately determine the most effective options for your exact cosmetic needs.