New research shows women who have had breast implants are three times as likely to commit suicide. While the article doesn’t include what percentage of women who get implants have pre-existing mental health issues, it does mention that,
Previous studies have shown that as many as 15% of plastic surgery patients have body dysmorphic disorder, a condition marked by severe distress over minor physical flaws. People with the disorder have a higher rate of suicidal thoughts and rarely improve after surgery.
Lest I sound like a forced-pregnancy advocate screeching about so-called “post-abortion syndrome,” I have to say that the implants themselves are pretty meaningless here. It’s a question of the mental health status of women who choose to get breast implants. Realizing this, some plastic surgeons are calling for more pre-augmentation mental-health screenings. (My question: Would they really tell a woman with severe depression that she couldn’t have D-cups? Maybe. Maybe not.) Other surgeons don’t seem concerned, saying that, because the research was conducted between 1965 and 1993, the situation today is much brighter for the silicone-boobed:
Researchers said the results may have limited applicability to women today because breast augmentation is more acceptable than it was 40 years ago.
Do they actually mean to suggest that the women in the study were suicidal because, in previous decades, society was not accepting of their silicone-enhanced breasts? I’d argue that today there is even more social pressure to look perfect than there was 40 years ago. And as plastic surgery becomes more socially acceptable, women with mental-health issues (and problems like body-dysmorphic disorder) may be under even more pressure to get breast augmentations. Therefore this problem is not going away.
Does this mean it’s time for the Love Your Body movement to take a cue from the anti-choice movement and start drumming up lots of biased research about so-called “post-boob-job syndrome”? Er, probably not…
Thanks to Erin for the link.