A review of psychological outcomes and suicide in aesthetic breast augmentation

Plast Reconstr Surg. 2007 Jan;119(1):401-408. doi: 10.1097/01.prs.0000245342.06662.00.


Aesthetic surgery is an essential component of plastic surgery and has become increasingly popular in American society. In 2002, 1.8 million surgical cosmetic procedures were performed in the United States, representing a 294 percent increase from 1992. The 1992 U.S. Food and Drug Administration moratorium on silicone breast implants arose in response to numerous reports of connective tissue disease associated with silicone gel breast augmentation and has led to a decade-long battle over the safety of silicone breast implants that continues today. Numerous scientific and epidemiologic studies of the past decade have established that there is no association between silicone breast prostheses and systemic disease. Recently, a new front has opened in the conflict regarding the safety of breast augmentation: the psychological impact of breast augmentation. Quality studies assessing the psychological characteristics of breast augmentation patients and the psychological impact of breast augmentation surgery are few and most studies are flawed in their methods. Recent reports have provided corroborating evidence to support the psychological benefits of cosmetic surgery and breast augmentation. New reports citing an increased risk for suicide among women with breast implants have brought renewed concerns but are unable to demonstrate a cause-and-effect relationship between breast implants and suicide. The present challenge is to determine whether the increased risk reported in epidemiologic studies is falsely associated with breast implants or whether it represents underlying risk factors or psychopathology in women undergoing breast augmentation that puts them at increased risk for suicide. The purpose of this article is to review the literature regarding the psychological impact of breast augmentation and assesses current scientific findings, with emphasis on the validity of suicide risk in breast augmentation patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Mammaplasty / psychology*
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data*