Do breast implants really improve quality of life?

According to a new study, women who have opted for breast enlargement with implants have objectively measureable improvement in several aspects of their lives. It’s an important question to answer, not just because it is a significant surgery, but because it is also a purely elective procedure. What’s more, critics of breast implants emphasize risks, while benefits have not always been solidly defined.   Shouldn’t women just learn to be happy with their bodies?

It may be healthy to accept whatever changes happen to one’s body, but the new study demonstrates that women with implants are happier with their bodies. Additional confirmation comes from’s “worth it” index, where breast augmentation is near the top, surpassed only by tummy tuck (which in combination with breast surgery is the mommy makeover.) But the study in question was quite a rigorous analysis, using a validated questionnaire called the Breast-Q. This is a patient-reported outcome scale of several variables, including satisfaction with breasts, satisfaction with overall outcome, psychosocial well-being, sexual well-being, and physical well-being. On a 100-point scale, average scores increased from 27 to 70 for satisfaction with breasts, from 45 to 78 for psychosocial well-being, and from 35 to 72 for sexual well-being. As scientific studies go, these are dramatic results.

It is important to keep in mind of course that these patients are women who were unsatisfied with their breasts to begin with. In my experience most patients just want average, natural looking breasts. Whatever the motivation, it fits into a larger body of research on the connection between beauty and well-being. The human mind is hard-wired to recognize and reward beauty, and so because attractive people have better lives, the pursuit of beauty has its own rewards – up to a point.