Age Limit for Breast Augmentation
One question plastic surgeons get asked a lot is “what is the best age to get breast implants?” While there are definitely times when getting breast implants isn’t the best or most appropriate decision, it’s difficult to point to one exact age that’s the “right” time for everyone.
A number of factors influence whether a woman is ready for breast augmentation and implants. Age plays a very small role in the decision. Here are a few things that can help you decide if breast implants are right for you, whether you’re 21, 33, 45, or 55.
Age Recommendations Based on Implant Type
AGE RECOMMENDATIONS BASED
ON THE REASON FOR SURGERY
Age Can Be
Just a Number
Your maturity level matters more than your calendar age when it comes to getting implants. Maturity refers to both emotional maturity and physical maturity. Some women are late bloomers and might have breasts that are still developing in their early 20s, for example. Since it’s best to wait for the breasts to be fully developed before scheduling surgery, some women might naturally need to wait longer than others.
Emotional maturity is a different matter. There’s no definitive way to measure someone’s emotional maturity. Women have to make that decision on their own. Generally speaking, though, a woman is emotionally ready for breast implants after she’s spent some time thinking about her goals and has fully weighed the pros and cons of the procedure. Her reasons for wanting implants can reflect that maturity or not. For example, a woman who is emotionally mature and ready to handle the psychological effects of getting implants will be getting them to make herself happy.
On the other hand, a woman is getting implants because her partner wants her to or because she thinks it is what other people want is most likely not emotionally mature enough for the implants. No matter how old a woman is, breast augmentation is never a decision to rush into.
There’s No One Perfect
Age for Breast Implants
While there’s no right age for breast implants, women in some age brackets might be better suited for breast augmentation than others.
In 2015, breast augmentation was among the most popular procedures for women between the ages of 30 and 39 and between 40 and 54, according to statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
Can Teens Have Breast Augmentation?
Since the FDA only approves saline implants for women over age 18, you might wonder if that means breast augmentation is off the table for many teenagers. Teens do get breast implants. More than 8,000 teens between the ages of 13 and 19 got the procedure in 2019, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeon’s statistics. Those statistics don’t reveal how many of those teens were 13 compared to how many were 19, though. If you are a teenager considering breast implants or you are a parent of a teen who wants implants, it’s very important to think about the emotional maturity of the teen, as well as their physical maturity. For example, a 16-year-old who’s unhappy about small breasts today might end up thrilled with the way her breasts look at age 18, without having to have surgery.
Guidelines on Breast
Implants for Teenagers
Consent is another issue to consider when teenagers want breast augmentation if they aren’t yet 18. Parents need to provide consent for cosmetic surgery for patients under the age of 18.
That means that a 16- or 17-year-old needs to involve their parents in their decision, which can complicate the matter. Depending on the parent, some might ask their teen to wait until they are older while others might agree to let them go ahead with the procedure.
Breast Implants for Teenagers to Correct Asymmetry
Although many teenagers want breast implants for cosmetic reasons, there are also several congenital issues that can contribute to the desire for breast implants. Asymmetry can be more pronounced in some teens than in others, due to disorders such as Poland syndrome. Some teens have tuberous breasts which can be corrected with implants.
Can You Be Too Old for Breast Implants?
Young women aren’t the only ones concerned about their appearance. Older women often decide that they would like breast implants too. Depending on how old they are, they might wonder how old is too old for breast augmentation. Can you get breast implants at 50? Is 65 too old for breast augmentation? Not necessarily. While 18 seems to be the lower age limit for teenage breast implants, there really is no upper plastic surgery age limit. What matters most is a patient’s health and emotional well-being. While just over 8,000 teenagers had breast augmentation in 2019, more than 86,000 people between the age of 40 and 54 chose to have the surgery that year. A little under 7,500 people over the age of 55 also had breast augmentation in 2019.
Age really can be just a number when it comes to getting breast implants. Many older women are healthy enough to successfully undergo the procedure and are thrilled with the results of their surgeries. Often, women over the age of 40 who are considering breast augmentation are doing so for different reasons than younger women. In many cases, they want to restore the shape of their breasts and regain lost volume. Sagging breasts or breasts that look deflated can make women look older and can contribute to a loss of self-confidence. As with teenagers, women of a certain age should consider their reasons for wanting implants. Ideally, you’ll be thinking of the surgery as a way to make yourself happy, rather than please others.
Breast Implants and Mammograms
Schedule A Consultation
Breast Augmentation and Breast Lift
Another thing to consider if you want implants over the age of 40 is whether you should combine breast augmentation with a breast lift. While augmentation enhances the size of the breasts, a breast lift restores their shape and position. Scheduling a breast lift with augmentation might be the right option for you based on your age and the appearance of your breasts. Most women develop sagging in the breasts when they get older, as a result of gravity and a loss of skin elasticity. Weight gain or loss can also make the breasts droop. Many surgeons combine breast augmentation and breast lift surgeries to help rejuvenate the breasts, making them perkier, fuller, and more youthful-looking.
HOW OLD YOU SHOULD BE FOR BREAST RECONSTRUCTION SURGERY
While the FDA has only approved saline implants for people over age 18 and silicone implants for those over age 22 for cosmetic reasons, there is no lower age limit if a person needs implants to reconstruct the breasts. Women might decide to undergo reconstructive breast surgery following the removal of their natural breasts due to cancer treatment. Although the risk of breast cancer in young women is low, some might develop it and may need to consider reconstruction before they are 18. A person might also choose to have breast reconstructive surgery at any age to correct congenital abnormalities in the breasts.
How to Tell if You’re the “Right Age” for Breast Augmentation
If age is just a number when it comes to breast implants, how can you tell if the timing is right for you? Several factors come into play.
One factor is your health. The ideal candidate for breast augmentation, whether she is 18 or 58, will be in good overall health. That means not having any untreated or unmanaged chronic conditions. It also means avoiding certain habits, such as smoking.
If you’re not sure if your health is good enough to make you a candidate for breast augmentation, you can talk to your doctor to learn more. You should also consider whether this is the right time for you emotionally, financially, and practically to get breast implants.
Questions to Ask to See if
Breast Implants Are Right for You
The FDA has approved saline breast implants for women over age 18 and silicone implants for women over age 22, for cosmetic reasons. Women of any age can have implants for reconstructive reasons.
If you’re the parent of a teen who wants implants, you can talk to them about their decision in greater detail and schedule a consultation with a plastic surgeon to discuss the surgery in depth. Teenage breast implants are approved on a case-by-case basis.
There’s no official age limit for having breast augmentation or getting implants. Your overall health and reasons for wanting surgery matter much more than your age.
Breast implants at 50 may or may not be a good idea, depending on your health and other factors. Your plastic surgeon can give you an idea of whether or not you’re healthy enough for surgery.
Breast implants will most likely not interfere with the results of your mammogram, depending on their location within the chest. It’s a good idea to tell the technologist before imaging begins so they can make any adjustments that may be necessary.
You might be able to get silicone implants at the age of 20, but doing so is considered off-label use. Off-label use of implants can void any warranties on them.
The FDA set a minimum age of 22 for silicone implants for cosmetic reasons largely because the patients involved in the studies of silicone breast implants were all over the age of 22. A surgeon might place silicone implants in patients under 22, or they might recommend saline ones instead.
The best age to get implants is when you’re ready for them. That can be early in your 20s, later in life after you’ve had children, or even later on.
The age range with the largest number of breast augmentation procedures in 2019 was between 30 and 39.
It really depends on the patient. Some women are excellent candidates for breast augmentation at age 60 because of their overall health while others aren’t. Your plastic surgeon can help you decide if you’re too old for implants or not.
Over time, wear and tear take their toll on your implants. As you age, you will need to keep an eye on your implants and replace them if necessary. Fortunately, they are designed to be long-lasting.