Teens Should Be 18 for Cosmetic Breast Augmentation, ASPS Recommends

For Immediate Release: December 22, 2004

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - In light of recent media coverage on the topic of teenagers seeking purely cosmetic breast enlargement, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) has adopted a policy that is consistent with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) approval of saline filled breast implants for women at least 18 years old. The ASPS policy statement gives background on the controversial issue of teenage breast augmentation as well as information on patient selection, informed consent, provider qualifications and recommendations.

"Contrary to popular belief, people 18 and younger make up only 4 percent of all cosmetic plastic surgery procedures. Although the numbers have increased over the years, teens continue to be a small percentage of the plastic surgery population," said ASPS President Scott Spear, MD. "Nevertheless, the ASPS leadership felt a responsibility to more than just quietly comply with the FDA. We want our members and the public to see how strongly we feel about teenage cosmetic breast augmentation."

The policy details various reconstructive abnormalities that may require augmentation including, congenital errors, trauma or disease. It also explains the challenge that teenagers seeking cosmetic breast augmentation can pose to plastic surgeons. According to the policy, physicians need to determine if their potential patients are emotionally and physically mature enough to have the surgery, understand the surgery's potential risks, benefits and possible complications, and have realistic expectations of what it can accomplish.

Specific recommendations included in the policy are: Adolescent candidates for purely cosmetic breast augmentation should be at least 18 years old. The procedure should be delayed until the patient has sufficient emotional and physical maturity to make an informed decision about cosmetic breast augmentation.

The ASPS document, Policy Statement on Breast Augmentation in Teenagers is available to the public and has been widely distributed to all ASPS members.