At the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Tennessee, Loren Lipworth and colleagues did a study concerning 3,527 Swedish women who had breast augmentation between 1965 and 1993. Of the women studied, 24 had committed suicide. The amount of time since surgery for these women averaged at about 19 years. Compared to the average population, this could imply that women who have breast implant surgery are three times as likely to commit suicide. Researchers noted that, “the increased risk of suicide was not apparent until 10 years after implantation.”
There were also some drug and alcohol related deaths that surfaced in the study. “At least 38 deaths (22 percent of all deaths) in this implant cohort were associated with suicide, psychological disorders and/or drug and alcohol abuse/dependence,” according to researchers. Interestingly, there did not seem to be a rise in cancer related deaths, including breast cancer, from these patients. This should be good news for those benefiting from the FDA’s approval of silicone breast implants last November.
It should be noted that while this survey does seem to show a slight correlation between suicide in women and breast implant surgery, it does not pinpoint breast implant surgery as the cause of suicide. It is more likely that women who undergo breast augmentation are simply more likely to commit suicide, due to self-esteem issues that caused them to have the procedure performed in the first place. It is for this reason that it is imperative that surgeons and patients are thorough in their initial consultation, including discussion of why the patient would like to have cosmetic surgery performed.