Background: Breast augmentation continues to be a very popular body contouring procedure with around 300,000 women in the U.S. having it every year. While the number of women getting breast implants has remained fairly steady over the past few years, the age range of women getting them appears to have changed to some degree.
While most perceive breast augmentation as largely being done in younger women, there has been a trend for older women getting the procedure as well. I have seen more and more older women (age 55 and older) requesting breast implants than ever before. I would now say that about 10% to 15% of the breast augmentation consults I see are in this older female population. A decade ago such a breast implant patient was a rarity.
As breast implants are now in their fifth decade of existence, they have become as commonplace as a Starbucks store. While they are not free of potential complications, just like any other medical device, their immediate and long-term benefits on improving breast size and shape have made those risks very acceptable to many women. Not to mention that the quality and durability of breast implants has continued to improve. Older women are now coming to realize it is never too late to enhance one’s body and easily alter this one insecurity.
Case Study: This 61 year-old female wanted to improve the shape and size of her breasts. After children and with aging, she had lost all of her natural breast tissue. She had a small lumpectomy done on the upper pole of her right breast at age 54. While she had lost volume she had no significant breast sagging.
Under general anesthesia, smooth round silicone gel breast implants of 350cc size were placed through 3.5cm long inframammary fold incisions. The implants were inserted with a no touch funnel technique in a partial submuscular position. (dual plane) The total operative time was less than one hour.
While she had some swelling and mild discomfort after surgery, she did not describe her pain as significant or prolonged. She returned to work at her sitdown job one week later. Her new implants gave her breasts a rounder or more uplifted shape. Her prior lumpectomy did not cause any indentation or deformity as the implant filled out her breast.
More and more older women today are seeking breast augmentation for an improved and rejuvenated chest appearance. Unlike younger women, even small increases in volume fill out loose and deflated breasts returning the appearance of their breasts back to an appearance decades ago. One is never too old to have breast augmentation, the oldest woman I have done for the elective placement of breast implants was 77 years old.
1) The placement of breast implants in a submuscular position is done the same way regardless of the patient’s age.
2) Older breast augmentations , age 55 and older, is not associated with a longer recovery or more complications than when done at a younger age.
3) Breast augmentation can be done at any age with equally good results.
Dr. Barry Eppley