Loren Lipworth of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Tennessee and colleagues followed up on 3,527 Swedish women who had cosmetic breast implant surgery between 1965 and 1993. They looked at death certificates to analyze causes of death among women with breast implants.
Only 24 of the women had committed suicide after an average of 19 years, but this worked out to triple the risk compared to the average population, they reported. Doctors who perform cosmetic breast surgery may want to monitor patients closely or screen them for suicide risk, Lipworth said.
…Women with breast implants also had a tripled risk of death from alcohol and drug use.
Considering how sensational the headline is, I really wanted to point out the details of the study. The end of the article mentions that cosmetic breast implant surgery was the second most common cosmetic procedure (behind liposuction) in 2006. But it doesn’t mention how common the procedure was within the timespan that was looked at, which would provide some insight into acceptance within our culture. I don’t remember people discussing fake vs natural until the late 80s or early 90s, and it was the silicone ban that really brought the surgery into the public view. Then there’s the fact that the statistic is based on 24 out of 3,547 women committing suicide…
These days, some girls are getting face and/or breast augmentation surgery for graduation presents. And it’s not a North American thing either – South Korea in particular, it’s widely accepted that cosmetic surgery is in a girls future. The rest of us get by on tricks and better bras.
I had to explain once to a co-worker why cosmetic surgery was better than a TV. He did not comprehend that cosmetic surgery was an investment in yourself, and while cosmetic surgery isn’t common for guys now – it likely will be in the future. I wonder when we’re going to stop telling our kids that we should not “judge a book by its cover” when we have so much evidence to support that attractive people are treated better.