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Women with cosmetic breast implants more likely to commit suicide

Total and cause specific mortality among Swedish women with cosmetic breast implants: prospective study BMJ Volume 326, pp 527-8

BMJ

Women who undergo cosmetic surgery for breast augmentation are more likely to commit suicide than women from the general population, finds a study in this week's BMJ.

Researchers identified 3,521 Swedish women aged 15-69 years who had had breast implants between 1965 and 1993. They compared the observed number of deaths with the expected number of deaths from suicide, unintentional injury, cardiovascular diseases, malignancies, and other causes over an average of 11 years.

Although 59 deaths were expected, 85 women died. Fifteen women committed suicide, compared with 5.2 expected deaths from suicide. Excess deaths were also due to malignant disease, mainly lung cancer due to smoking. The number of deaths for all other causes was close to expected.

Given the well documented link between psychiatric disorders and a desire for cosmetic surgery, the increased risk for death from suicide may reflect a greater prevalence of psychopathology rather than a causal association between implant surgery and suicide, say the authors.

Surgeons evaluating candidates for breast implant surgery need to be vigilant for subtle signs of psychiatric problems, they conclude.

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