Breast augmentation is surgery performed to alter the size, shape, and profile of the breasts. Women choose the procedure for a multitude of reasons: For some, the highly individualized surgery is a way to enlarge naturally smaller breasts, while others may be self-conscious about asymmetry that developed over time.
There are two main strategies for adding volume to the breasts: implants or autologous fat transfers. Patients who reach out to board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Kaveh Alizadeh about breast implants at his Long Island, Manhattan, or Westchester-based offices often have questions regarding the best age to have either surgery. The simple answer is that the ideal age for breast augmentation varies depending on the patient.
Breast augmentation brings about long-lasting and sometimes dramatic changes, so it is essential for patients to do their research and be aware of all of the nuances involved. During the operation, an incision is made in an easily concealed area, and with the NaturaPlane™ approach used by Dr. Alizadeh and his team, the implants are placed between the breast tissue and muscle. The FDA approves saline implants for women over the age of 18 and silicone implants for those over the age of 22. Beyond that, there is no age limit for this procedure. It is intended for adults who are physically healthy, have realistic expectations, and have reached the stage of emotional maturity to have plastic surgery.
A woman in her 20s may have different body concerns to a women in a different stage of life, such as her 40s or 50. The same goes for women who have had children compared to those who haven’t. Younger women often simply want to enlarge the breasts, while older women commonly choose breast augmentation to reverse the effects of aging and pregnancy. It’s common for women to wait until they’ve finished having children to have the surgery. However, women who plan to have children in the future can safely have the procedure done, as it generally does not cause complications for breastfeeding. That said, the choice is an important one and should be carefully researched and considered.
As we shift upward in age, we lose some bone density and muscle mass. This can affect the way our fat and skin sit on our frame. Naturally, women’s breasts and overall body shape change significantly over time. Hormonal fluctuations and shifts are also an influence. Younger breasts tend to be dense, meaning they are more glandular and contain less fat. It’s common for their structure to change, becoming less firm around the age of 40 as estrogen levels drop, and after menopause. The breast tissue that is lost is often replaced by fat. Swelling, inflammation, and tenderness are common. For some women, the breasts shrink, and there is a wider space between them, while others may experience weight gain and go up a few cup sizes.
Adding to that, the body no longer produces the same amount of important proteins like collagen and elastin, which are responsible for maintaining the skin’s connective structure. Ligaments can simultaneously weaken over time, so it’s common for breasts to become stretched and saggy. Gravity, weight fluctuations, sun damage, and smoking can make the problem worse. Women who have an excess amount of drooping skin may want to consider combining augmentation with a breast lift to address these concerns.
A recent option, which some plastic surgeons find very exciting, is using a woman’s natural fat cells to augment and enhance the shape of the breast. This procedure is popularized with the NaturaBra™ technique that takes advantage of the woman’s own soft tissue to internally support breast tissue while adding volume and improving cleavage and projections. Watch for the “NaturaBra™” look on the red carpet at the upcoming Oscars ceremony.
Want to learn more about what to expect from breast augmentation at any age? Contact Alizadeh Cosmoplastic Surgery by calling 212.348.0100 (Manhattan and Westchester) or 516.439.5010 (Long Island), or submit a consultation request online.