Worried about ‘faulty’ breast implants?

Worried about ‘faulty’ breast implants?

Recent news stories have focused on the problem of a type of ‘faulty’ breast implants – called Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) implants. These French manufactured implants have been shown to be made of non-medical grade silicone. These implants have been used in approximately 40,000 women in the UK.

Current concerns are based on the fact that these implants have a higher rupture (breakage) rate – French authorities estimate this risk at about 5% but the UK authorities initially reported this risk around 1% only. However, recent information from Transform group suggest that this risk may be around 7%.

I have never used this type of implants in any of my patients. I understand that some women who have undergone breast surgery using PIP implants may be worried about their health risks.  The UK authorities insist that there is NO increased risk of breast cancer in these women – but the implant covering is at a higher risk of breaking – leading to leakage of the gel material.

Those women who are concerned about the safety of their breast implants should verify any details that they may have from the initial operation. If they are able to reach their original surgeon or hospital where the implant surgery was carried out, it will be better to make that initial contact with them.

For others, it may be useful to contact a qualified Consultant Plastic surgeon or their own GP for advise. This may lead to any one of the following management options:

  1. A professional consultation to assess any signs of leakage of the implant and, if needed, an ultrasound examination to confirm the same.
  2. If the implant is found to be damaged, it needs to be removed.
  3. IF it is still intact, the implants may be left alone / monitored after few months
  4. Alternately, the implants could be removed as a precaution; in some women, after removal the remaining breast tissue could be ‘uplifted’ with no further use of any implant; in others, an ‘uplift’ could be combined with using a fresh pair of other, safer types of breast implants, to recapture the original appearance.

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