When silicone breast implants were reintroduced in 2006, the FDA stated the recommended age for patients as 22 and older. Saline breast implants are defined as appropriate for age 18 and older. But many still ask, at what age are breast implants appropriate?
If the case is simply that a young woman seeks to enlarge a genetically small breast size, experts typically urge waiting until the breasts are fully developed, generally in early adulthood, or ages 18 to 22.
If a young woman suffers from a condition where normal breast development is absent, and she is otherwise developing normally and has regular menstrual cycles, breast augmentation can be considered at an earlier age, as recommended by her doctor. If a young woman has severe asymmetry or disproportion of the breasts, or if she has a condition like a tubular breasts, surgery may also be appropriate prior to adulthood.
The same holds true for breast reduction surgery. In most cases, it is recommended that a woman wait until after she has reached physical maturity and does not plan on having more children. However, exceptions are often made when a younger woman, who may not have reached physical maturity yet and is no where near planning her family, has such excessive breast tissue that it causes not only physical but also emotional stress. In young women of normal weight with excess breast development, a breast reduction can be very important to social and sexual self-confidence.
In any case, consulting a board-certified plastic surgeon who will cautiously examine not only the present physical symptoms but also a young woman’s health is the first step to determining at what age breast surgery may be appropriate.
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