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Plast Reconstr Surg. 2010 Mar;125(3):799-810. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e3181cb5e29.

Health characteristics of postmenopausal women with breast implants.

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Division of Plastic Surgery and Department of Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.



Long-term health characteristics and quality of life in patients with breast implants are important issues in plastic surgery.


The authors evaluated characteristics of women who had breast implant surgery in the Women's Health Initiative observational study between 1993 and 1998. Most women in this study cohort had breast implant surgery 20 or more years before recruitment into the study. The women who were in the study who had not undergone breast implant surgery served as the comparison group. There were 86,686 women in the study who did not have breast implant surgery and an absent history of breast cancer, and 1257 women who had breast implant surgery and no prior breast cancer.


Total mortality rates were substantially lower among women with breast implants, as was the incidence of coronary heart disease. Women with breast implants in this study had a lower body mass index throughout adult life and were more physically active than control subjects. After adjustment for these variables, differences in total mortality were no longer statistically significant. Women who had breast implants reported overall poorer quality of life and emotional well-being. These differences were small, but statistically significant. Among women with breast implant surgery, 7 percent of deaths were due to suicide (n = 3) versus 0.4 percent (n = 20) in controls.


Significant differences in health characteristics and quality-of-life measures are seen in a cohort of women with breast implants decades after implant surgery. Further longitudinal studies need to focus on both physical and psychological health among women undergoing breast implant surgery.

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