September 20, 2003


Breast Implants Linked to Suicides (Sid  Kirchheimer, Sept. 12, 2003, WebMD Medical News)

A second study in only seven months shows that women who get breast implants commit suicide three times more often than women who don't - but at least one expert cautions that the findings could be misleading.

Both of these studies, done in Europe and together involving nearly 6,000 women who had the popular cosmetic surgery, follow a 2001 report on American women suggesting that those who get breast implants for augmentation face a nine-fold increased risk of suicide compared to women who don't get the procedure, and that they commit suicide four times more often than those who have other types of plastic surgery.

"All three studies suggest the need for surgeons who are doing these procedures to conduct thorough pre-operative psychological screening of patients," says David B. Sarwer, PhD, an assistant professor of psychology in psychiatry and surgery at the Center for Human Appearances at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. "But very few are doing that."

Gosh, it seems like they'd be so well-adjusted and have such terrific self-images...

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 20, 2003 7:54 AM

I wonder if anyone's done studies linking promiscuity to suicide. The only suicide I ever knew was a woman who, in the time I knew her (about three years), slept with hundreds of men. A few years later I learned from a mutual acquaintance that she had killed herself.

Posted by: pj at September 20, 2003 8:41 AM

I know of two female suicides.

One was the homecoming queen of the class ahead of mine in High School. On homecoming night.

The other was a nurse, a close acquaintance who was not promiscuous. She got married, had two kids, then shot them both, then herself.

As for the tag line on the article--it makes a cause effect assumption. That, absent the surgery these women would not have gotten due to the pre-op screening, these women wouldn't have killed themselves anyway.

I think the only conclusion one could draw is that such pre-op screening would have left the heirs several thousand dollars richer.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at September 20, 2003 10:15 AM

Here's the poster child for that theory.

Posted by: John at September 20, 2003 12:44 PM


Plastic surgery procedures don't cause suicide, they're a leading indicator of a person who despises themself.

Posted by: oj at September 21, 2003 3:50 PM

What Orrin said, with the addendum that popular culture is driving more and more people (especially the young) into that sorry, disturbing state.

Posted by: Peter B at September 21, 2003 8:43 PM


I didn't say it was. What I did say is that it is likely these women were suicidal anyway, and the plastic surgery did not change the outcome, other than, without it, the heirs would have had more money.

After all, successful pre-op screening would amount to saying "you can kill yourself, but we aren't going to let you kill yourself with big boobs."

Additionally, I have known (not in that way, though) more than a few women who either had, or wanted, breast implants. None of them despised themselves.

The reason for getting implants isn't any different from orthodontia. Maybe we should pre-op screen people who want their teeth straightened, too.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at September 21, 2003 8:54 PM


Certainly adults who do. Mostly tooth work is done on kids by their parents, but you've already made my point: "What I did say is that it is likely these women were suicidal anyway..."

Posted by: oj at September 21, 2003 9:05 PM