There is no doubt that breast augmentation is a popular cosmetic surgery procedure for younger women. But how young is too young? Age-wise, the answer is very clear – the FDA approves the cosmetic use of saline implants only for women over the age of 18, and women must be at least 22 in order to choose silicone gel implants. But even at these ages, a woman’s maturity plays a big role in my determination of whether breast augmentation is an appropriate choice.
There are two aspects of maturity – physical and emotional. Since cosmetic procedures rely on aesthetics for the optimum outcome, it’s important to wait until full physical growth has been achieved before performing a cosmetic procedure. A young woman is not old enough for augmentation until she has stopped developing completely. Generally, this is by the time she is 18, but that’s not always the case.
Physical maturity is just one consideration. My San Diego breast augmentation patients must have an appropriate level of emotional maturity and an understanding of how the procedure can affect their lives. It’s important to choose the surgery for the right reasons, and to make sure that it’s an informed decision which is not influenced by peer pressure or made impulsively. In my experience, delaying augmentation until an emotional maturity level is reached which is more conducive to a calm and rational decision is better for the patient.
The bottom line is that surgery of any kind is an adult decision, and younger patients often need guidance during the consultation to ensure that cosmetic surgery is really the right choice for their goals.
Dr. Alexander received his Medical Degree from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, one of the country’s first medical schools, and then had five years of intensive general surgery training at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, serving as chief resident in 1993-1994. There he was one of two residents honored “Outstanding Teacher” by the Whitehead Society.
After becoming Board Certified in General Surgery, Dr. Alexander attended the University of California San Francisco, one of the premiere Plastic Surgery programs in the United States. There he completed two additional years of residency training in Plastic Surgery. Dr. Alexander is double board certified in Surgery and Plastic Surgery and is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.
Dr. Alexander specializes in facial rejuvenation, and was the first surgeon in California to perform the QuickLift,™ a revolutionary surgical procedure that takes years off the face with less downtime than traditional facelifts. He is a specialist in chemical peels and laser surgery and was selected to author the chapter “Facial Resurfacing” in Plastic Surgery, the premiere textbook of the specialty. He also specializes in facial cancer reconstruction and endoscopic, minimally-invasive procedures, publishing his own original research about endoscopic plastic surgery. He lectures in medical forums and has presented his results at both national and international surgical meetings.