Mortality rates among augmentation mammoplasty patients: an update

Epidemiology. 2006 Mar;17(2):162-9. doi: 10.1097/01.ede.0000197056.84629.19.


Background: A large follow-up study of cosmetic breast implant patients previously suggested an overall decrease in mortality but increased risks of brain and respiratory cancers and of suicides.

Methods: This cohort of 12,144 implant patients and 3614 patients with other types of plastic surgeries was followed for 5 additional years, enabling derivations of standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) based on population rates and relative risks (RRs) based on comparisons with the other patients.

Results: A total of 443 implant and 221 other plastic surgery patients were identified as deceased (SMR = 0.65 [95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.6-0.7] and 0.56 [0.5-0.6], respectively). Despite evidence that implants can interfere with mammographic visualization, there was no evidence that implant patients had a higher risk of death from breast cancer as compared with either the general population or other plastic surgery patients. The previous excess risk of brain cancer deaths among implant patients was attenuated by follow-up (as the result of no additional deaths; SMR = 1.43, 0.8-2.5; RR = 2.07, 0.5-8.9). A previously observed excess risk of respiratory cancer deaths persisted in comparisons with other plastic surgery patients (RR = 1.63; 1.0-2.7), but there was no evidence of a trend of risk with follow-up time. Implant patients also showed an elevated risk of suicide (SMR = 1.63, 1.1-2.3; RR = 2.58, 0.9-7.8) and of deaths caused by motor vehicle accidents (RR = 1.73; 0.6-5.4).

Conclusions: Although several elevations in cause-specific mortality were attenuated by additional follow-up, the excess risk of suicide among the implant patients remains of concern.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Implants / adverse effects
  • Cause of Death
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Mammaplasty / mortality*
  • Poisson Distribution
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology