I am a teenager thinking about getting breast augmentation. What can you tell me to help me decide?

Q. I am a teenager thinking about getting breast augmentation. What can you tell me to help me decide?

A. We’re not doctors and we don’t provide medical advice, but I can tell you what we know based on research and from speaking with many experts and with women who have had breast implants.

It is great that you are doing research about breast implants. Although it may seem that you are “done developing” that is often not true. If you have breast augmentation as a teenager, the implants could interfere with your normal development, or the resulting size and shape could be not at all what was intended as the breasts continue to develop. Women can continue to develop after age 20, and most will have more cleavage because they will gain a few pounds in their late teens and early 20’s. (In college, this is called the “Freshman 15” but it can happen whether you are in college or not, and not necessarily in the late teens.) Statistics show that most women who have breast augmentation are thinner than average. If they wait until they gain weight a few years later, they may no longer need or want augmentation.

Some women do fine with breast implants, while others have complications or health problems that can interfere with their lives. You might have read about Kacey Long, who was featured in Parade Magazine, People, and on MTV’s I Want a Famous Face. Kacey was 19 when she got saline breast implants and 21 when she had them removed. She got sick very quickly, but didn’t realize her health problems were related to her implants. She started spending all her time in bed, and was in too much pain to even comb her hair. However, when her implants were removed she immediately started to feel better. And, she also discovered that she had grown one cup size – so that when her implants were removed she was exactly the size she had wanted to be. Unfortunately, she is still paying for the augmentation surgery, since she bought the surgery on an installment plan. She was lucky to be able to borrow money from her family to have her implants removed.

You can read about Kacey and other personal stories of women who have had implants. Click here to read about another woman who got her implants when she was young and what she thinks of them today.

You can get more information about implants by checking out our website at at http://www.breastimplantinfo.org/what-you-need-to-know/. Although we believe saline implants are safer than silicone, both have a very high complication rate.

The comments and statements of the National Research Center for Women & Families are believed and intended to be accurate, and where applicable, based on scientific literature. NRC’s statements do not constitute medical diagnoses, medical advice, plans of treatment, or legal opinion, and we are not responsible for the use or application of this information. All medical information should be reviewed with your health care practitioner.

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