Cosmetic surgery patients more likely to be suffering from mental illness

London: People who seek cosmetic surgery for their face or body are more likely to be suffering from psychiatric problems than those don’t according to new research.

And women who have breast implants appear to have a higher than usual risk of suicide, says a report in the current issue of the New Scientist.

Evidence from the United States and Canada suggests that up to three times as many women who have had the cosemetic procedure kill themselves than those who have not.

The link has emerged from studies that were intended to assess whether breast implants had any effect on cancers and autoimmune diseases. No association was found but the studies, of 37,000 women, did find that an abnormal proportion of those who had enhanced their breasts by surgery subsequently killed themselves.

Joseph McLaughlin, of the International Epidemiology Centre in Rockville, Maryland, said: “The only consistent finding from all the studies has been the unexpected one of suicide.”

Many scientists think it likely that women who have breast surgery may have psychiatric problems that predispose them to suicide. In another study, led by David Sarwer, of the Centre of Human Appearance and the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, 18 per cent of patients having cosmetic surgery were found to be taking drugs to treat psychiatric conditions, compared with 5 per cent of those having other operations.

It is also possible that women whose surgery had a poor outcome commit suicide; more recent patients, who have newer implants, may not have the same reaction.