Here’s the story so far.
- Forty-thousand women in the UK have had breast implants that contain silicone that has not been approved for medical use.
- That number is approximately 1/10th the number of women around the world who have had this particular type of breast implants.
- In America, more than 5% of teen and adult women are estimated to have had breast enlargements.
- Within a decade of surgery, up to 1/3 of patients will have at least one ruptured or leaking implant.
- Breast implants have been associated with a variety of longterm health risks, such as autoimmune disease.
- One of the fastest growing areas of plastic surgery is specialists who repair ‘work’ that has gone wrong.
- The suicide rate among women who have had breast implants is six times higher than among those who have not had implants. This is likely related to the psychopathology of patients who opt for cosmetic surgery.
It all strikes me as a particularly modern expression of self-loathing.
This week, the news has been full of distressed women who can’t sleep because of their anxiety and anger that the government isn’t paying for their implants to be removed.
With the exception of women who’ve had breast reconstructions due to cancer or some other genuine medical condition, I’d prefer that the money I pay for national health didn’t go to fixing this particular problem. Spend the money on heart surgery and IVF and new cancer treatments. Spend it on autism or dementia or transplants or childhood leukaemia or schizophrenia.
If you make a decision that your life will be improved by bigger breasts or tighter cheeks or liposuction or ears that don’t stick out, I guess that’s up to you.
But please don’t expect me to pay for elective plastic surgery when it goes wrong.