Cosmetic surgeons have to make careful choices when helping people decide whether they are ready for breast implants. While there is always a psychological component (your doctor wants to make sure that you really want the surgery and that you understand the potential risks as well as the benefits!), a lot of this decision comes down to whether a person’s body is mature enough.
Once you understand a little more about how breast implants affect women at various ages, you should be able to have an honest, informed conversation with a plastic surgeon.
Physical Guidelines for When Someone Should Get Breast Implants
Before determining whether a patient is old enough for breast implants, he or she has to find out whether the patient’s breasts have finished developing.
Often, women want to get breast implants when they are quite young. Most 18 year olds shouldn’t get breast implants because their breasts are still developing. Implants could disrupt that development.
Getting implants too early can have some pretty obvious effects. Many women who get breast implants early in life find that they quickly lose the perkiness that they enjoy. Instead, their breasts can start to droop considerably. Waiting a few years to get surgery could prevent these unfortunate conditions.
Doctors can’t easily determine whether breasts have completely developed, especially if the doctor hasn’t worked with the patient for many years. Cosmetic surgeons, therefore, have to rely on information from the patient. If the patient believes that her breasts have fully developed, and can explain why she believes this, then doctors have to base their recommendations on that.
General Age Guidelines for Breast Implants
Physically, everyone’s body works just a little differently. Some breasts stop developing at 16 years. Others don’t stop developing until the middle 20s.
Still, doctors have a general idea about when breast development stops. Whether a patient qualifies for breast implants, though, can depend on the type of implant used.
Doctors usually do not want to give saline implants to anyone under 19 years old. Many doctors follow this guideline for silicone breast implants, too. Others feel that silicone implants can cause more problems in women whose bodies haven’t stopped developing, so they prefer to wait until the patient is at least 22 years old. At that point, the vast majority of women have stopped developing. It’s pretty safe to assume that future changes will be so minute that the breast implants won’t cause any harm.
Asking Whether You Are Ready
Ethical doctors have to make sure that a patient’s body is ready for breast implants. The patient, however, has to decide if her mind is ready for it.
Breast enhancement isn’t a serious medical procedure, but it does pose some risks just like all procedures do. Breast implants can also have changes on the way that a person sees herself. It may boost your confidence, but it may also take some time for you to get used to how you look. Most people are pleased. But if you’re not emotionally mature enough to handle the change, it’s best to wait until you can make an informed opinion.
Can’t I Just Get Them Removed Later?
While it is possible to remove breast implants, doing so can create aesthetic changes that most people find unappealing. Getting breast implants removed, for instance, could cause the breasts to sag noticeably.
This makes it important for patients to consider whether they want breast implants for life. It isn’t a spur-of-the-moment decision that young women should make about their bodies. It is a serious decision that mature women of various ages should think about before reaching a conclusion. If you aren’t certain that you want breast implants, then no age makes you good candidate.
It often helps to talk to loved ones about whether you are ready for breast implants. Parents and friends might have insights that help you understand your motivations better.
Of course, you should also talk to your doctor about whether you are ready for breast implants. Dr. Robert Backstein and other cosmetic surgeons can give you good advice, but it also helps to talk to your general practitioner. The doctor you see regularly should know more about your body’s development. He or she, therefore, is in a good position to give you medically sound advice. If your doctor recommends that you wait, then that’s probably best. If he or she says that your breasts have developed fully, then it’s probably safe for you to get implants.