Are Silicone Breast Implants Legal for a 21 Year Old?

I am 21 years old and I previously asked a question about where I could go to get Silicone Breast Implants. Some doctors told me that it is illegal in the U.S. while others told me that it is legal but I would not be under the implant warranty.

I want to know which is right. If it is illegal then obviously I will not do it. However, if I can get them now, even if without the warranty, I will.

Thanks for your time,

Doctor Answers 9

Silicone breast implants in a 21 year old woman

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Dear Sara,

The FDA has not approved silicone breast implants in women under the age of 22 years for cosmetic breast augmentation. The FDA has approved saline-filled breast implants for augmentation in women ages 18 and older. For breast reconstruction (i.e. reconstructive surgery to restore the breast after cancer treatment or trauma), silicone implants have been approved for women of any age.

Because you are most likely looking into implants strictly for cosmetic purposes, you will not be able to get silicone gel implants until you reach the age of 22.

Hope this helps. Best of luck.

Silicone Implants for those under 22 years old

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If you are fully informed and sign a waiver/informed consent document along with a parent/legal guardian, if under legal age allowing off FDA label usage of a silicone implant then you can have these used even for cosmetic purposes and is legal. You are right that it probably invalidate the company's warranty.

Are Silicone Breast Implants Legal for a 21 Year Old?

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In my opinion, there is no good reason why there is an FDA  mandated age of 22 for patients to receive silicone breast implants. There are many patients under the age of 22 who would ( based on their body type and the advantages of silicone breast implants) benefit from the use of silicone gel breast implants. Unfortunately, the use of these implants for these younger patients will negate the breast implant manufacturer warranty.

I hope this, and the attached link, helps.

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Silicone implants not available for women under the age of 22

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For some unknown reason when silicone breast implants were allowed back on the market BY THE FDA in November of 2006, their use was restricted.  One of the restrictions was that implants cannot be used for cosmetic augmentation in women under age 22.  Any physician who violates this restriction could be sanctioned by the FDA and could lose his/her license to practice medicine.  If you find a PS who willingly and knowingly breaks FDA regulations, would you trust him/her to operate on YOU.  I  WOULDN'T.

David Finkle, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 83 reviews

Silicone implant age

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In the United States, the FDA has limited the use of silicone implants to women that are at least 22 years of age.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Silicone implants are FDA approved for women over the age of 22.

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As of November of 2006, women over the age of 22 years old are eligible to receive silicone breast implants under the guidelines established by the FDA. This requires you to review and complete prepared materials and informational brochures.

You are almost there.  Unfortunately, a board certified PS will not give you silicone implants until you are over the FDA approved age. 

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

FDA approved silicone breast implants for age 22

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Silicone gel implants are approved by the FDA for use in patients over the age of 22. You might be waiting a bit to get them in the US.

John P. Di Saia, MD
Orange Plastic Surgeon

Illegal breast implants

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Great question. I've dealt with this once before. This patient was 21 as well and came to visit me from out of town. Because she had almost no breast tissue at all, it was clearly the better implant to use (silicone) for many reasons. I sent her off to return to me in a year. Needless to say, she came back with really big saline implants that just didn't look right, but she made all of the choices and signed all of the paperwork. I may be wrong, but it seems that all that paperwork is not necessarily intended to protect the patient.

I think that some would do your surgery with silicone implants despite FDA recommendations because its not illegal. This is an elective cosmetic procedure and those are the product recommendations.

Although I don't think the FDA necessarily makes all logical choices, their intention was originally meant to protect patients. Making you sign a series of consents where you accept all blame doesn't seem right to me but you won't struggle to find someone that's perfectly fine with it.

I don't regret not having done this patient's surgery, in fact, she's already talking to me about switching them out for a different size. My suggestion is for you to talk to your plastic surgeon and see what he recommends. If he tells you to wait and you bonded with him and trust him.. you should probably wait. Keep us posted on what you ended up doing, I'd be very interested in knowing.

Ricardo A. Meade, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 125 reviews

Silicone implants are not illegal for a 21 year old

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The FDA set an approval age of 22 for silicone implants because this is what they had data to go on. In no way is it illegal for you to use silicone implants. You are an adult and can make this determination to use silicone implants "off label" and with out a warranty. I will predict that some plastic surgeon will refuse to do it and some will do it with a special consent. You are not breaking any laws by having silicone implants but if you are 21 years old it might be worth waiting until you are 22 to get the full warranty coverage.

Best Wishes

Dr. Peterson

Marcus L. Peterson, MD
Saint George Plastic Surgeon

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.