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FDA Breast Implant Limitations Address Age, Not Size

FDA Breast Implant Limitations Address Age, Not Size

updated

Plastic surgery fanatic Heidi Montag recently claimed she had the largest breast implants allowed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In fact, the agency imposes no limit on size, but does have guidelines about the minimum age of breast implant recipients.

In one statement, Montag said she had the largest implants allowed by the FDA. In another she said legal restrictions would not allow her implants to exceed 700cc, though she said 800cc is the largest size available. One Long Beach plastic surgeon said 800cc is the largest size currently available from U.S. manufacturers Mentor Corporation and Allergan, Inc. He said both companies previously made larger sizes as custom orders, but no longer do so.

While the FDA's published guidelines for breast implants do not put an upper limit on size, there are minimum age limits. The agency says a woman receiving implants for cosmetic reasons should be at least 18 years old for saline implants and 22 years old for silicone gel implants. There are no restrictions for necessary reconstructive surgery.

The FDA cites two factors in its minimum age requirement. One is that women's breast continue to develop into their 20s; the other is a concern that women be mature enough to make an informed decision about implant surgery. The extra four year wait for silicone gel implants is due to the extra risks if they rupture. Leaking saline is absorbed by the body; silicone is not.

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