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Breast reconstruction specialist Dr. Constance M. Chen explains age considerations guiding common breast procedures

Dr. Constance M. Chen

Am I Too Young or Too Old to Change My Breast Size?

Age is definitely a factor in breast surgery. Our breasts change throughout our lives, as a result of pregnancy, breastfeeding, and menopause.”
— Dr. Constance M. Chen
NEW YORK, NY, UNITED STATES, August 11, 2022 /EINPresswire.com/ -- Does age matter? It all depends on what you’re doing—and the same is true if you’re contemplating surgery to either reduce or enlarge the size of your breasts, says plastic surgeon and breast reconstruction specialist Dr. Constance M. Chen.

Despite being chosen for opposite reasons, both breast reduction and breast augmentation are common plastic surgery procedures. More than 90,000 breast reduction procedures are performed in the United States every year, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Meanwhile, breast augmentation is one of the top 5 cosmetic procedures nationally, with nearly 200,000 such surgeries performed in 2020.

“Both breast reduction and breast augmentation are surgical procedures performed under general anesthesia, and as such should be taken seriously,” says Dr. Chen, a board-certified plastic surgeon with special expertise in the use of innovative techniques to optimize medical and cosmetic outcomes for women undergoing breast reconstruction.

“Age is definitely a factor in breast surgery,” she explains. “Our breasts change throughout our lives, as a result of pregnancy, breastfeeding, and menopause, for example, so age should be taken into consideration in order to optimize the timing of surgery and maximize outcome.”

Regardless of where you fall on the age spectrum, Dr. Chen breaks down relevant factors guiding the choice to seek breast reduction or breast augmentation:

Breast reduction
Reasons to seek the procedure: Women considering breast reduction surgery typically want their larger, overly heavy breasts to be smaller and lighter, says Dr. Chen. “Extremely large breasts can lead to a host of physical and emotional burdens, from severe back and neck pain to chronic skin rashes to impaired self-confidence and the inability to fit into clothing.”

Too young? Breast tissue can continue to grow in girls and young women until about age 22, so undergoing breast reduction surgery before full development occurs may lead to an unsatisfactory result or necessitate another procedure later, Dr. Chen says. “Depending on how much they’ve struggled with their breast size, some young women feel a possible future surgery is a worthy trade-off for getting relief from large breasts in the short term,” she adds.

Too old? Many women in their 60s and beyond inquire about breast reduction after deciding they’ve had enough of dealing with the downsides of too-heavy breasts and the effects of gravity over time, Dr. Chen says. “For mature women who are physically healthy, there’s no real age limit on undergoing breast reduction,” she says. “In fact, doing so can lower their chances of certain other health issues, like chronic back pain, and improve their emotional well-being.”

Breast augmentation
Reasons to seek the procedure: So-called “boob jobs” are so common that it’s easy to assume that women who choose to undergo breast augmentation are solely concerned about appearance. To be sure, cosmetic concerns top the list of motives to undergo the surgery, which involves inserting implants to make breasts fuller or larger. Breast implants are also used to “even out” asymmetric breasts, help lift sagging breasts, and/or boost mental well-being in women whose breasts never seemed proportional with the rest of their body.

Too young? There’s no legal age requirement for breast augmentation surgery, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved saline breast implants only for women 18 and older and silicone gel implants only for those 22 and older. Most plastic surgeons adhere to these guidelines, Dr. Chen says. It may also benefit younger women to wait a bit to determine if their breasts will continue to grow, since breast tissue can develop until about age 22 or so. “If implants are placed before breast growth is complete, a young woman may actually end up with breasts larger than she envisioned and wanted, which is not ideal,” Dr. Chen says.

Too old? Like breast reduction surgery, there’s no real age limit to breast augmentation as long as a woman is otherwise healthy, Dr. Chen says. Many women consider augmentation for the first time after they have undergone the changes associated with pregnancy and breastfeeding. A breast lift is sometimes done at the same time as implant surgery to achieve a ‘renewed,’ younger-feeling body.

Constance M. Chen, MD, is a board-certified plastic surgeon with special expertise in the use of innovative natural techniques to optimize medical and cosmetic outcomes for women undergoing breast reconstruction. She is Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery (Plastic Surgery) at Weill Cornell Medical College and Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery (Plastic Surgery) at Tulane University School of Medicine. www.constancechenmd.com

Melissa Chefec
MCPR, LLC
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