A Closer Look at Age Limits and Implants

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If you're between the ages of 18 and 22, you may find confusing and conflicting information online regarding the availability of silicone implants. There are many misconceptions about the FDA’s restrictions on silicone implants, so here are some helpful facts to help you understand your options and make an informed decision.

What the FDA Has to Say
Saline implants are approved by the FDA for use in patients 18 years and older. The real confusion surrounds  silicone breast implants, which are only approved for cosmetic use in women over the age of 22. However, using silicone implants in patients who are younger than 22 isn’t illegal. This age restriction is a recommendation, not a law.
Different Surgeons, Different Rules
Doctors' opinions vary greatly when it comes to “off-label” use of silicone implants—that is, using silicone implants for cosmetic breast augmentation in patients under 22. The fact is, there are many more factors than just age to consider. Women who are very thin and have very little breast tissue are often not good candidates for saline implants, which can ripple and be visible through the skin. Compared to saline, the cohesive nature of silicone gel better emulates natural breast tissue for results that look and feel more like natural breasts.

In these cases, patients receiving silicone under the age of 22 will typically be asked to sign a waiver indicating that they were made fully aware of the FDA's position but still desire to proceed. While some surgeons will not even consider off-label use except in cases of deformity or reconstruction, others focus instead on what will give their patients the best result.
Article by
Tampa General Surgeon