We live in a celebrity-obsessed culture that spans much farther than the silver screen. On an episode of the ABC show, GCB, a young girl asked her mother for breast enhancement surgery for her sixteenth birthday. This begs the questions, how soon is too soon? I’ve seen teens with very healthy body images that are simply frustrated and want their body to catch up faster than nature’s course.
So, how soon is too soon to consider breast implants or other cosmetic procedures? There is no magic number. Although, logic and common sense must rule. When I consult with young adults and their parents who are considering plastic surgery, the first step is to find out why they want surgery. First and foremost, the need or desire for surgery must be evaluated because children and teens mature physically and emotionally at varying rates.
Red flags to consider may be peer pressure or even a parent who claims, “My daughter needs a nose job.” These are not healthy reasons to consider plastic surgery.
In the cases where a candidate is ready emotionally, there are also physical considerations of readiness. Physically a girl is probably not old enough for breast enlargement or breast reduction until her breasts have fully developed. That usually happens between 17 to 18 years of age. Lastly, parental consent is a factor if the candidate is under 18.
An exception to the age rule is an individual with significant asymmetric breast development (i.e. one side larger than the other). In these circumstances, breast augmentation surgery may be considered at a younger age in selected cases.