PIP breast implants- the latest news and information
Worries about the breast implants made by PIP have emerged since news of a major investigation into the France firm.Initially it was thought that around 40,000 women in the UK had the implants but yesterday the Department of Health said new evidence meant a further 7,000 women in the UK might have them. About 95% of the implants were provided privately for purely cosmetic reasons.
The French implants caused global concern after it was revealed they contained industrial silicone rather than medical-grade fillers and that they may be more prone to rupture and leakage.
Initially reports also linked the implants to a rare form of cancer known as ALCL. This cancer link has been now been firmly discounted by medical experts here and in Europe.
It isn’t currently known whether the rupture rate for PIPs is higher than for other types of implant.
From the implants that have been tested, there appears to be no risk of dangerous toxic effects in the event of a rupture.
The implants involved are called Poly Implant Prosthèse (PIP) and were made by a French company of the same name.
In a Medical Device Alert in March 2010, the Medical and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said: ” … most breast implants manufactured by the company since 2001 have been filled with a silicone gel with a composition different from that approved”.
That alert was based on advice from French regulators. However, after an investigation by the MHRA, the French authorities reported in March 2012 that PIP implants made before 2001 may also contain unauthorised silicone gel.
PIP gained approval to market its silicone implants in 1997 but it is not clear when it began using a cheap type of silicone gel intended for making mattresses.
The marketing, distribution and use of the PIP implants was suspended in March 2010.
About one breast implant in five needs replacing within 10 years, whatever the make, so it is unlikely that all the 7,000 women who had PIP implants before 2001 still have the same implants.
An expert committee was set up recently to examine the specific risks associated with PIP implants. It concluded that there was not enough evidence to recommend their early removal. That advice has not changed.
However, the committee said the NHS would remove and replace the implants without charge if patients that the NHS had operated on remained concerned. The government expects the private sector to follow suit.
Women who received a PIP implant from the NHS will be contacted to let them know they have one. If you are worried, you should book a consultation with your specialist or GP.
Some private clinics have said they will replace PIP implants free if clinically necessary.
The expert committee has commissioned further work on the health risks and will meet again in May 2012 to review the findings and update its earlier advice as needed.
Also, the Department of Health has set up two reviews to look at how the PIP situation occurred and the issue of regulating the cosmetic surgery industry as a whole.
The first report is due to be submitted to the health secretary by the end of March 2012.
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