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Further linkage of implants to suicide

Article-Further linkage of implants to suicide

International report — Recent findings from a large-scale Canadian epidemiological study showed that women with breast implants were 73 percent more likely than the general population to commit suicide, echoing the findings of several previous studies.

The Canadian study of more than 40,000 women also concluded, however, that women receiving cosmetic breast implants were at a lower-than-average risk of dying from cancer, heart disease and other major illnesses.

Study specifics

The findings, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, captured data on 24,558 women who had received breast implants between 1974 and 1989, and 15,893 women who had undergone other elective plastic surgery during that time period, according to

The study tracks deaths through 1997 and dispels the persistent concern that implants are a risk factor for major diseases such as cancer — actually finding a lower risk among breast implant recipients compared with the general population.

However, investigators say that their study underscores previous study findings that women electing breast augmentation surgery exhibit psychiatric disorders such as depression and lower self-esteem in greater numbers compared to the population at large. Women in the study who had undergone other forms of plastic surgery besides breast augmentation were also at increased suicide risk.

Though the actual number of suicides in the study population was small — less than one quarter of 1 percent of the more than 24,000 implant recipients followed — the chief investigator for the Canadian study says that it "seemed reasonable" to recommend that plastic surgeons sensing that a prospective implant patient is at high risk for suicide or other psychiatric disorder refer that patient for a mental health consultation.

For more information:

Mortality among Canadian women with cosmetic breast implants. Am J Epidemiol. 2006 Aug 15;164(4):334-341.

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