Is previous history of depression and self harm a contraindication to breast augmentation?

I was diagnosed a year ago with depression and prescribed antidepressants which I am still taking. The cosmetic surgery provider cancelled my operation at the last minute, saying that I would have to wait another year before they can proceed because they have a 2 year rule - no operating on patients until at least 2 years after treatment for depression/self harm. Is this normal? They refused even when my GP wrote a letter saying I was ok to have the op

Doctor Answers 10

Is Previous History of Depression and Self Harm a Contraindication to Breast Augmentation?

The  idea here is that your plastic surgeon wants to do no harm and is concerned that you are on an even keel before operating on you.  I think a two year rule is an arbitrary policy, so if you think you are ready to proceed with a breast augmentation, or any elective surgery, you can help your plastic surgeon by allowing him/her to discuss your recovery with your mental health professional.  This would be a reasonable approach to make sure both you and your plastic surgeon are able and willing to work together to make sure your surgery is the right operation at the right time.

Mountain View Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Mental illness is not a contraindication

if the patient is being properly treated and has the right support systems in place.  Use of antidepressants are almost routine with patients (I am just surprised how many people are using them) but if you're still not stable in your place and thoughts, you should delay surgery until you are.  As for your surgeon's policy, every surgeon has their own and that is all it is.  But if your surgeon cancelled you, you should be able to get a full refund so you can find a surgeon who can better judge you during a consultation rather than using a fixed rule.  And if you want additional support, discuss this with your psychiatrist or treating physician and get a note indicating their support for your decision.

Curtis Wong, MD
Redding Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Is history of self-harm a contraindication?

Having a healthy mental outlook prior to having a breast augmentation surgery is important.  With that being said, if you had a medical clearance letter from you physician, I would feel comfortable proceeding with surgery.  I would also have a very honest and candid conversation with you about why you are choosing to have breast augmentation.  I hope you are able to find a qualified, board-certified plastic surgeon in your area that is willing to work with you.  Best of luck!

Is previous history of depression and self harm a contraindication to breast augmentation?

A previous history of depression and self harm may be a contraindication for any elective surgery including breast augmentation.  Each surgeon has their own protocols in this regard, and each has the right to decide not to preform a surgical procedure on a patient for a variety of reasons.   In our practice, when there is an issue history of depression, we usually require a note from the patient's psychologist/psychiatrist stating that they are aware of the proposed surgery and feel it is in the patient's best interest to proceed.   Even with this approval, I still retain the right to decline to preform a procedure if I feel it is not in the patient's best interest.  Best wishes, Dr. Lepore.

Vincent D. Lepore, MD
San Jose Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

No contraindication

Hello, thanks for your trust and for your inquiry. As you have might read before, every practice have different policies and protocols. It is very important for the patient to talk to his or her surgeon prior surgery in order to evaluate all the options and pros and cons. A Breast Augmentation is a surgery that mostly gives immediate results and  it gives a confidence boost in the patient which helps in most cases.  Please make sure that you and your surgeon are on the same page. Don't forget to discuss all your concerns, options and expectations thoroughly. Have a safe and pleasant PS Journey!
Dr. Jaime Campos-Leon

Jaime Campos Leon, MD
Mexico Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 241 reviews

Mental health and plastic surgery

I am so happy to hear that you are feeling better. While mental health concerns are not a strict contraindication for cosmetic surgery, each practice has its own set of protocols. I can imagine that you feel pretty frustrated- it may be helpful to keep in mind that the physician is doing his or her best to make sure you are mentally and physically healthy enough to have surgery. That said, you could always have a consultation in another practice if you disagree with the first practice's guidelines. Best wishes, Dr. Meghan Nadeau, Seattle WA

Meghan Nadeau, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews


it is not a contraindication.  however your surgeon has the right to operate upon whomever he pleases. it is elective.  that being said , I am sure you could find someone else who would be willing.  I like to have letters from the other health care providers. I have had some who have told me no way and others who felt that it would be a good thing for the patient.  when all goes well, these operations are great. but if something does not go well , you want to make sure the patient can deal with the stress.

Jonathan Saunders, MD
Newark Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

Past mental health concerns is not a contraindication for elective surgery.

Successful outcomes from aesthetic surgery are more likely when mental health and physical health are optimal. With current or past mental health concerns, the consultation with your surgeon is the starting point. When my patients are open to having input from their primary care and mental health professionals I feel much more comfortable considering elective surgery for them. Although it is helpful that your GP was supportive, your surgeon still did not feel convinced. There is certainly no "rule" that can be applied to every patient situation. Sometimes it just takes a little longer for both the patient and the surgeon to decide if the timing and circumstances for cosmetic surgery are right.

Mathew C. Mosher, MD
Vancouver Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

No, it is not necessarily a contraindication…

I am sorry to hear about the difficult time you have experienced.  Different practices will have different "protocols".  In my practice, I trust my own "screening" process a great deal when selecting patients for surgery.  Given your history, I would also ask for a  letter from your mental health professional prior to proceeding.   Otherwise, there is no specific waiting time necessary. Best wishes.

It is an individual surgeons decision

each patient is different but in general, if I received a letter from my patient's psychiatristthat stated that they felt comfortable with the patient having a BA, I would most likely proceed with the surgery. This is especially true if it had been a full year since there had been self harm. i would also trust my instincts about the patient. i would want a psychiatrist letter and not just a GP letter though.
good luckdavid berman md

David E. Berman, MD
Sterling Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.