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Teens and Transgender Breast Implants

Transgender breast implants can be used as part of gender reassignment surgery, although in some cases, transgender breast implants precede genital surgery or are the only surgical procedure performed.

How is the procedure performed

The surgical procedure for breast enlargement for men is generally done on an outpatient basis, meaning that the patient goes home after the procedure to recover in the comfort of his own home. Breast enlargement for men is done under a general anesthesia or a heavy sedative and usually takes a few hours to complete.

During the surgical procedure a surgeon will make a small inconspicuous incision in the armpit area. Using an endoscope, the surgeon will guide the pectoral implant into the desired location. In breast enlargement for men, the implant is placed under the pectoral muscle. It is also important to note that breast enlargement for men cannot make the muscles of the chest more defined; it is intended to enhance the overall size of the chest area.

In the surgical sense, transgender breast implants do not differ from the breast implants that a woman receives. The materials used for transgender breast implants are identical, as are the options for incisions, and patients can choose to have their implants placed over or under the muscle tissue in their chest. The risk of side effects for transgender breast implants is the same as well, with possibility for infections or capsular contraction.

Potential Risks

There are a number of possible complications that can occur. Displacement can result in the malpositioning of one or both implants. This is rare but necessitates re-operation. Infection can occur during the first two months and requires removal of the implant. Hematoma or seroma are also possible complications. One percent of patients also experience temporary or permanent loss of sensation in their upper arm.

For many transgendered men, transgender breast implants represent an important step in establishing their feminine identities and the decision to get transgender breast implants is not one that should be made lightly. Potential candidates need to consider many of the same factors as women who opt for breast implants.

Transgender breast implants can be expensive and are not usually covered by health insurance.  After receiving transgender breast implants there may be emotional or psychological side effects. The recovery time after surgery may require that the patient miss work or other activities. However, many individuals who get transgender breast implants feel that all of these risks are well worth the final result and for many, transgender breast implants provide a sense of physical and emotional completion.


After the surgical procedure for breast enlargement for men, the patient may experience some pain or swelling. Dressings and sutures will be removed during the first week. Patients are not to engage in physical activity (i.e. sports or lifting) for four to six weeks after the procedure. A patient will be able to return to work one or two weeks after the surgery.

Teen Breast Implants

Teen breast implants have become an increasingly popular cosmetic surgery within the last few years. According to statistics, the number of women under the age of 18 who underwent teen breast implant surgery more than tripled between 1992 and 2002. In 2002 alone 3,095 girls underwent a teen breast implant procedure, compared to 3,841 girls in 2003 who received breast implants. This is 24% increase in the number of girls who seek teen breast implants.

There are some specific issues that need to be addressed in terms of teen breast implants. The FDA urges parents and teens to educate themselves about the risks and benefits of teen breast implants before considering plastic surgery as an option. It is also vital for teens to be physically and psychologically prepared and ready to have breast implants. If the body has not finished developing prior to teen breast implant surgery, a woman may face additional complications thereby compromising the likelihood of a successful surgery.

Emotional Risks

Teens must also be psychologically ready for breast implants. A psychologically mature teen will have appropriate motives and realistic expectations for seeking teen breast implants. Teenage females have a higher rate of body image problems than any other female age group. When girls seek teen breast implants it is vital that they gain a realistic understanding of what to expect before, during, and after surgery, including the risks and complications.

Implant Life Expectancy in Teens

Many of the changes, favorable or not, that come with teen breast implants cannot be undone. Some of the unfavorable changes that occur are difficult and costly to correct. Teen breast implants are never permanent, according to the FDA, as most women will need additional surgery due to complications five to ten years after surgery. For some it is even sooner. Women who have had teen breast implants may require additional surgery because one or both of their implants has leaked, deflated, ruptured, or capsular contracture has occurred.

Aesthetic and Physical Risks and Complications

In addition to local complications from teen breast implants, there are a number of aesthetic risks involved as well. Due to surgical error or the body's unfavorable response to teen breast implants, undesirable asymmetry, puckering, dimpling, wrinkling and scarring can occur following surgery.

There are a number of physical complications that can occur with teen breast implants as well. Some of them are temporary while others can lead to long-term or permanent problems. These teen breast implant complications can include: pain, bleeding, bruising, swelling, delayed healing, hematomas, seromas, chest wall deformity, loss of natural breast tissue, infection, loss of breast or nipple sensation, inability to breastfeed and more.


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