Breast implant patients three times more likely to commit suicide

London:Women who have cosmetic breast implants are nearly three times more likely to commit suicide as other women, according to a study published in the Annals of Plastic Surgery.

Deaths related to mental disorders, including alcohol or drug dependence, were also three times higher among women who had the cosmetic surgery.

Loren Lipworth of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Tennessee and colleagues studied 3,527 Swedish women who had cosmetic breast implant surgery between 1965 and 1993. They also looked at death certificates to analyze causes of death among women with breast implants.

After an average of 19 years, 24 of the women had committed suicide. While the number of suicides was small, it worked out to triple the risk compared to the average population.

In all, 38 deaths (22 per cent of all deaths) were associated with suicide, psychological disorders and/or drug and alcohol abuse, the researchers wrote.

Although no reasons were given for the higher suicide rate, study author Lipworth says she believes that some women who get implants may have psychiatric problems to start with, perhaps linked with lower self-esteem or body image disorders.

Doctors who perform cosmetic breast surgery may want to monitor patients closely or screen them for suicide risk, Lipworth added.

Last year, Canadian scientists also found a higher risk of suicide among women who got breast implants.

The study, carried out by the Public Health Agency of Canada, the University of Toronto, Cancer Care Ontario and the University of Laval, looked at 24,558 women in Ontario and Quebec who underwent breast implant surgery from 1974 to 1989. They identified 58 suicides among the 480 breast-implant recipients who died. In a comparable general female population without implants, they would have expected 33 suicide deaths.

The authors of that study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, said:

“Serious consideration should be given to providing consultation for patients who are considered by the plastic surgeon to be at high risk of psychiatric disorder or suicide.”