When the FDA approved silicone breast implants for augmentation in 2006, the recommended age for women was stated at 22 or older. Saline breast implants are defined as appropriate for age 18 or 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, it’s best to wait until the breasts are fully developed, generally in early adulthood, or age 18-22. 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 disfiguring condition like a tubular breast, 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. But exceptions are often made where 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 her physical appearance 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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