The Italian Almanac

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A Ban for Breast Surgery

Italy is mulling a ban on cosmetic breast surgery for under-18s in the wake of increased demand for such operations, Health Undersecretary Francesca Martini said. ``We are working with the scientific community and with plastic surgeons to produce guidelines that will ban breast implants for girls under 18,`` Martini said, explaining that the number of minors asking their parents to pay for breast surgery was on the rise. The government measure would involve all breast surgery that had no medical basis for being carried out, Martini said. ``It`s crucial to inform patients that this type of surgery presents risks and contraindications,`` she added.

Around 36% of girls under 18 do not like their appearances, with 17% unhappy about their breasts, according to the SWG research agency, which also reported that 14% of girls between 16 and 17 said they would consider surgery. Martini said the ministry was also working on plans to create a national register of patients who have undergone breast implants, but stressed that patient confidentiality would be respected. ``Via the register we will create a national database in order to form a picture of the phenomenon, because at the moment we do not know how many women undergo surgery of this kind,`` she said.

According to SWG, 40% of women over 35 would be prepared to have cosmetic breast surgery. The survey however reported that women unhappy with their bodies are more concerned with perceived defects of the stomach and thighs (71%) or the legs (29%) than their breasts (18%). But 39% said an abundant chest increases self esteem.