Breast Implants and suicide redux


The correlation between patients with breast implants and slightly higher suicide rates is something I touched on previously (see here).

To most observers this is a fairly easy phenomena to explain: higher rates of psychiatric issues and depression among cosmetic surgery patients would expect to result in a corresponding suicide rate increase. An excellent review of this literature was published in the February issue of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, the world's flagship scholarly journal for Plastic Surgery.

Still, among the cadre of anti-implant activists , there lingers the suggestion that these observed suicide rates are from either psychic or physical pain from their implants. This was voiced recently by the actress/ant-implant crusader, Sally Kirkland (see photo), who speculated that Anna Nicole Smith's death by drug overdose was from her breast implants. (As opposed to her reported history of depression, psychiatric problems, alcoholism, and drug abuse/dependency.)

"Dr." Kirkland's observations aside, an interesting addition to the literature popped up this week which asked the logical question of whether the increase in suicide rates was also seen in breast cancer patients. Surprising no one, the answer is no in a National Cancer Institute funded review of cancer registries. The skeleton of this study can be read here.

Hopefully this puts the stake in the flawed assertion that breast implants causes suicide, and redirects the attention towards more effective screening out of potential patients who would benefit from psychiatry rather then surgery.

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