The results of a new study in the U.S. have prompted the researchers involved to recommend that doctors screen women before surgical breast enhancement.
They say the long-term risk of suicide is tripled for women who have undergone cosmetic breast implant surgery; they also recommend a post-surgery follow-up as a preventative measure.
The researchers from the International Epidemiology Institute in Rockville and the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, tracked the suicide rates for 3,527 Swedish women who underwent cosmetic breast implant surgery between 1965 and 1993.
They discovered there were 175 suicide-related deaths for women with breast implants compared to the 133.4 average for a group of women that size.
At an average follow-up of nearly 19 years, the suicide rate was three times higher for women with breast implants, compared to the general population.
That risk was almost seven times higher for women who received their breast implants at age 45 or older.
The study also found women with breast implants had higher rates of death from psychiatric disorders and there was a 3-fold increase in deaths related to suicide, alcohol and drugs, as well as deaths from injuries and accidents for women with breast implants.
The research team say the increased risk for suicide was not apparent until 10 years after implantation.
According to the new study which was led by Dr. Loren Lipworth, women with breast implants also had an elevated risk for lung cancer and chronic respiratory disease but there was no evidence that women with implants had an elevated risk of dying from either of these diseases, researchers concluded.
Experts say in light of the study results plastic surgeons need to assess the mental health and history of women desiring breast augmentation and be alert to mood disorders such as depression and body image disorders, such as body dysmorphic disorder.
They say where the patient is receiving mental health treatment, the surgeon should contact the mental health professional to confirm that the patient is psychiatrically stable and appropriate for surgery.