Causes of death among Finnish women with cosmetic breast implants, 1971-2001

Ann Plast Surg. 2003 Oct;51(4):339-42; discussion 343-4. doi: 10.1097/


Mortality patterns among women with cosmetic breast implants have not been well characterized. We examined cause-specific mortality among women who underwent cosmetic breast implantation at major public hospitals and private clinics in Finland from 1970 through 2000. Causes of death through 2001 were identified through the national mortality register. Expected numbers of deaths were calculated on the basis of mortality rates in the general female population, and standardized mortality ratios (SMR), i.e. ratios of observed to expected deaths, and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated. Among the 2166 women with cosmetic breast implants, we observed 31 deaths versus 32.1 expected. Overall disease mortality was below expectation, mainly due to low mortality from diseases of the circulatory system (SMR, 0.28; 95% CI, 0.03-1.02). Mortality from cancer was close to expectation. There was a statistically significant excess of suicide, based on 10 deaths, which was most pronounced during the first 5 years of follow-up (SMR, 4.26; 95% CI, 1.56-9.26). In conclusion, although based on small numbers, women with cosmetic breast implants did not experience higher mortality overall than women in the general population. The high suicide risk supports other studies and warrants further detailed investigation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Implantation* / psychology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality
  • Cause of Death*
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / mortality
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / mortality
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data