With their ability to perfect the shape, size, and symmetry of the breasts, breast implants remain one of the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures requested today. Dr. Robert N. Young, the founder of DrYoungForever in San Antonio, TX, has successfully performed breast augmentation for more than 20 years on women of all ages, with outstanding results.
While many women inquire about breast surgery, not everyone is an ideal candidate for having implants. Dr. Young shares some advice on the best age at which to get this life-changing procedure, as well as some other factors to take into consideration before scheduling surgery.
What Is the Best Age To Get Breast Implants?
While most women seeking first-time breast surgery tend to be between the ages of 25 and 45, anyone aged 18 or older who is in good health should be a viable candidate for breast augmentation. The reality is that health, not age, is the most important determining factor for whether someone can safely undergo this procedure. Women over the age of 18 who are in good emotional and physical health will almost always make good candidates.
Patients must of course be old enough that their bodies have fully developed, which is why we strongly discourage teenagers under the age of 18 from having breast surgery, even if they have parental permission to do so. It is essential that patients have the physical and emotional maturity to undergo this type of procedure.
What the FDA Has To Say
While saline implants are FDA-approved for women who are 18 years of age or older, the FDA has only approved silicone implants for women who are at least 22 years old. Both types of implants have excellent safety ratings, but this is the current recommendation so we must adhere to this unless there are extenuating circumstances. If a patient has a strong preference for silicone implants, it is best to wait until they are 22.
Statistics by Age
According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, nearly half of all women who undergo breast augmentation are between the ages of 19 and 34. Women between the ages of 35 and 50 make up 39 percent of breast augmentation patients. The remaining 14 percent of breast implant recipients are over the age of 51, with only 2 percent of these patients being over the age of 65.
What this tells us is that women of all ages are having this procedure done, although the numbers certainly drop off dramatically after age 60. The main reason for this is possibly that the more mature a patient is, the more likely they are to have serious health concerns that might get in the way of having elective surgery performed. If a woman is healthy, and a non-smoker, then breast augmentation can be safely performed even in the later stages of life.
Health, Not Age, Is the Most Important Factor
No matter a person’s age, it is essential that potential breast implant candidates be entirely forthcoming about their health status during their initial consultation. Your medical history, any medication you are on, and unresolved health conditions should be divulged. If you smoke, even occasionally, let the doctor know. He will ask you to stop!
Women who are fully developed (as is almost always the case by age 18), who have healthy lifestyle habits, who are not currently experiencing any health difficulties, and who are prepared to closely follow all instructions for pre- and post-operative care, can expect to see very positive results from having a breast augmentation. Having realistic expectations for what can be achieved with a cosmetic procedure is also important.
With younger patients, even if they are over the age of 18, we do look for indicators that have the emotional maturity to make an informed and rational decision about having surgery. Changing the shape of the body in any way is a big decision and one that should be made with due diligence. Trying to dramatically alter the body to fit an impossible ideal, or using breast implants as a way to save a relationship, are not good reasons to have surgery.
When a Person Is Not Yet Ready for Surgery
If it is determined during the consultation process that a person is not a suitable candidate for breast implants at this time based on age, health, or any of the other factors noted above, this does not mean that they can’t ever have surgery. If you are committed to the idea of having a breast augmentation, but the time isn’t right, your doctor can give you some advice on how you might prepare for a possible surgery in the future.
A patient might be advised to quite smoking, to wait until they are no longer taking a certain medication, or to allow a particular medical condition to heal. A young patient might be advised to wait a year or two until they have had more time to think about why they wish to have surgery, and what their goals and expectations might be. Being fully ready to undergo a cosmetic procedure is a big part of ensuring optimal results.
What To Expect When Getting Breast Implants
While the purpose of breast augmentation is to improve the figure, women of different ages may have different goals and expectations when having this procedure. For example, women under age 30 tend to be primarily focused on size, while older women may also want to address sagging and asymmetry. Women who’ve already had children may find that their breasts no longer look the way they used to, and wish to restore a more youthful appearance.
In the case of more mature patients who had their first breast augmentation when they were much younger, they may be returning for a follow-up procedure. For these patients, we may incorporate a breast lift and add newer style implants that were not on the market when they had their first procedure done. Older patients are also more likely to combine their surgery with other anti-aging procedures.
The Recovery Process
While it might be thought that young patients “bounce back” much more quickly from breast augmentation than do older patients, really this comes down to a person’s health and lifestyle habits more than it does to age. We often see mature patients who recover very quickly from breast surgery, because they are in excellent health and have very good habits.
On the other hand, a young patient who smokes and who does not follow the recommended post-op protocols might have a harder recovery. No matter your age, if you are going to commit to a cosmetic procedure of any kind, it is important to maintain healthy lifestyle habits and closely follow your doctor’s instructions to ensure optimal results.
How To Decide if Breast Augmentation Is Right for You
If you are emotionally mature enough to make a decision about having breast surgery, and you have realistic expectations for what can be achieved with this type of procedure, this is a great place to start. From a physical health perspective, your doctor can advise you as to whether you are a good surgery candidate based on your current health status.
Other Factors To Consider
If the doctor has decided that breast augmentation is right for you based on your age, health, and emotional wellbeing, it must also be established that you are ready for surgery from a practical standpoint. There are several factors that a patient must take into consideration as they prepare for surgery, which requires a time commitment and a recovery period
Can you afford the procedure? Are you able to take enough time off from work? Are you able to follow all the pre- and post-operative care instructions that the doctor will give you? Do you have someone who can drive you home after your surgery and stay with you for at least the first day after your surgery? These are all important factors which much be considered.
Finding the Best Breast Doctor in San Antonio
If you have determined that breast augmentation would be a good choice for you, it is critical that you work with a highly skilled cosmetic surgeon who can deliver excellent results. Dr. Robert N. Young is Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, and has an outstanding reputation in South Central Texas and beyond. Contact us today at DrYoungForever in San Antonio, TX so that we can schedule your initial consultation.