Higher Breast Implant Risk for Younger Patients?

I am 18 years old and am wanting breast implants. I am 5'7'' and 125 lbs. I have read that saline implants are approved for 18 and over, unlike silicone implants, which are approved for 22 and over. Do the implants come with more risk the younger you are?

Doctor Answers 5

silicone breast implants

 The FDA approved silicone breast implants with the  recommendation that they be placed in patients over 22 years old.   the reason for this is that the FDA believes that the patient who is 22-years-old  is more likely to be compliant with postoperative regimens for breast cancer screening with silicone implants. The recommendation by the FDA is that patients undergo MRI three years after placement of the implants and  every two years thereafter. Because most insurances do not cover MRI for breast implants cancer screening it is believed somebody who is 22 years old can make a better decision about the long-term cost of the implant. This does not mean that the implants are more risky for younger patients and this does not mean that a patient who is younger than 22 years old cannot grasp the concept of breast cancer screening.    Although the age number may seem arbitrary this is the recommendation of the FDA.

Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 238 reviews

Breast Augmentation and Younger Patients?

Thank you for the question. 

You are correct in that the FDA  has recommended the use of silicone breast implants for patients above the age of 22.  This does not mean however that there is any scientific evidence that silicone breast implants carry more risk the  younger you are.

I hope this helps.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,488 reviews

Not necessarily higher risk from breast implants

I tell every patient of mine who has breast implants that there is always a chance that they will have more breast surgery in their future whether it be for size change, capsular contracture, breast lift, etc. It makes sense that they younger you are when you have your first surgery that your risk of needing additional surgery in your future is higher. Your breasts will go through changes in your lifetime in response to weight loss/gain, pregnancy, etc. Althoug hthe FDA recommends that a woman be 22 to have silicone implants, the rationale is not clear but that is their recommendation. Take care.

Dr Edwards

Michael C. Edwards, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

No more risk from breast implants in younger patients

Breast augmentation is a very popular and common procedure. Most plastic surgeons including myself don't consider breast augmentation on patients until they are 18 for several reasons. Most importantly it is important to wait until the later teenage years because some women experience breast growth in their later teenage years. Also it is a consensus agreed upon age that most patients at 18 can make mature decisions about their bodies that are not whimsical and they are legally mature to sign their own consent forms.

I agree with the other plastic surgeon that realistically ANY patient has to expect at some point in her life she will require revision to her implants whether they are being "changed" for patient driven reasons (i.e. want to change size or change from saline to silicone), or complications (such as capsular contraction or deflation/leakage/rupture).

I know several doctors that are willing to do silicone gel implants in 18 years olds but it is clearly OFF LABEL from the FDA approval. I only offer saline implants to my patients, and I predict that many of them will come back in time to have them "changed out" for silicone gel at a later time. The good news is that "changing out the implants" involves relatively little discomfort and recovery, even less than the initial surgery.

Also most 18 year olds have not had children yet so it is important to discuss that breasts are typically changed quite significantly with pregnancy and there is a significantly likelihood that they will have to do something to them after having children. Sometimes that can be as simple as an "exchange of implants", othertimes it means simply adding a breast lift.

Hope this helps!

James F. Boynton, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.