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Breast Augmentation: How Young Is Too Young?

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As plastic surgery continues to gain acceptance and become commonplace, there are those among us who will inevitably, as they say, “push the envelope.” You don’t have to look very hard on the Internet to find women who are referred to as plastic surgery addicts—people who just don’t seem to know when enough is enough. Then there are those who have made themselves cartoons in the flesh as they explore just how big their breasts can be.

One of the more unsettling trends is that of very young women having breast augmentation. Reviewing some recent articles over the past few days has prompted me to ponder, “How young is too young?”

Just as it is with other life decisions—such as when you’re old enough to marry, or when it’s time to have a child—electing to undergo breast enlargement is more a matter of maturity and perspective than chronological age. Of course it goes without saying that there’s a physical bottom line; in this case a girl should be finished developing before considering breast surgery. But after that point, it’s all about expectations.

About a year ago I talked at length with a woman in her very early twenties about her decision to get breast implants. A tall, healthy college student, she lives in California and loves outdoor activities like beach volleyball. But she wasn’t enjoying them as much as she wanted to due to a flat chest atop an otherwise medium-build, athletic frame. She felt very self-conscious about her shape and wanted breast augmentation simply to balance her body. After surgery, with new size C breasts, she felt a mixture of happiness and relief. I concluded my conversation with this young woman feeling that she had made an understandable choice with reasonable expectations.

What disturbs me is when a woman believes breast surgery will help in other areas of her life. It’s not unusual for someone to think that larger breasts will help her land a boyfriend, for instance. What’s even more alarming is that some cosmetic surgery practices prey on such ill-conceived notions.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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