According to 2010 study by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 296,000 operations out of six million total cosmestic surgeries were breast augmentations, a 39 percent increase over only a decade's time. How old is the increasing majority of women who, year after year, say yes to breast implants? One might assume the demographic most susceptible might be an insecure, younger woman who feels her shape is boyish, or a new mom, looking to perk herself up after the trials of pregnancy and nursing. But looking at the actual statistics, this report may help debunk some of those stereotypes.

Survey Says

The study reported that 36 percent of breast augmentation surgeries were done on women aged 30 to 39, totaling to more than 107,000 operations. The youngest demographic surveyed, women between the ages of 13 and 19, made up only 3 percent, with 8,000 surgeries, whereas the ascending age bracket, 20 to 29 year-olds, made a significant leap to 30 percent. The numbers began to fall for women between the ages of 40-54, who made up just 28 percent of the total. Implants are far less popular for those past the age of 55, weighing in at a low 2 percent.

Analyzing The Results

So what’s going on during the ages of 30 to 39? Are women interested in implant because their bodies have fully developed, and they are able to make a decision with long-term ramifications? Does arriving at this decade mean an individual is more likely to be confident in her body image—or know for certain she'll never be confident enough without an alteration?

Sadly, counter-evidence suggests not having a fully-developed body isn't always enough to deter many implant hopefuls. There are teenage girls who request breast implants as a high school graduation gift, raising concerns as to the appropriateness and safety of performing cosmetic operations on bodies still very much in flux. However, no known physical dangers have been reported as of yet, and the FDA has approved silicone gel implants for patients age 21 and over, and saline implants for 18 and over.

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A Caution For Younger Patients

Body-image confidence tends to rapidly change during teen years. A study in 1989 suggested that, since body-image satisfaction is highest by age 18 for adolescents, decisions that may have long-term ramifications should be questioned. The same study found that dissatisfaction with specific features was influenced by mass media, advertising and books.

Breast augmentation often necessitates a follow-up surgery or other additional operations anywhere from five to ten years after the initial procedure, meaning a patient as young as 18 could receive multiple operations before the age of 30. If this is an inevitable part of the process, there may be greater benefit in waiting to begin.