Fears have recently arisen around breast implants that had been created by the cosmetic surgery company PIP. It is expected that around 400,000 women have been affected by the gel implants which were filled with industrial gel instead of the normal kind used in breast implants. The company used industrial gel instead of the normal silicone gel in order to save on costs.
Xavier Bertrand is a health minister in France and he has recently commented, “It has recently become clear that all of the gel that PIP has used in these breast implants is contaminated and I’m shocked that it has gone undetected in safety checks.
I have instructed the government to look into how these checks have failed and how these procedures have continued for such a long time. In the coming days I will be discussing the matter with other health ministers from around Europe in how we’re going to deal with the problem.”
The shadow health secretary in the United Kingdom is Andy Burnham and he has stated, “The private clinics that installed the implants must be responsible for the costs of removing them. If these clinics do not pick up the bill the NHS is going to be facing around £150 million in costs to correct the problems.”
A leading plastic surgeon has said that around one in every 10 of the implants could burst leading to health complications. Mr Burnham continued, “The private sector should be responsible for cleaning up this mess, cosmetic surgery companies are very good at promoting their products but when it comes to after sales care they are very poor.
It is the government’s responsibility to force private clinics to pick up the costs. Women should also be able to contact the clinic where they had their cosmetic surgery and request details of their implants to see if they came from PIP.”
The discovery that the company was using industrial gel was made in 2010 and its products were banned soon after, which led to the company shutting down. Soon after this it became clear that the rupture rate of their gel products was higher than normal and last month the health authorities in France advised over 25,000 women to have their breast implants removed.
The officials also said that there might be an increased risk of breast cancer associated with the implants but as of yet there is no proven link between the two. Fazel Fatah is part of a government panel that is investigating the implants and is also the president of the Association of Plastic Surgeons in Britain.
He commented, “There is a moral and ethical obligation by private clinics to correct the problems associated with these implants. We worry that the figures about the number of women with these implants have been underestimated and the costs associated with their removal might be far higher than thought.
“These implants are using a type of silicone inappropriate for cosmetic surgery and one that is typically used in industry, therefore it is important that all 40,000 women who we currently expect to have received the implants to have them removed. These implants were being offered so that clinics could reduce their costs but these costs have been cut in an unacceptable way and have increased the risk to patient’s health.
We also expect that the actual rupture rate of these implants is higher than recorded because the records rely on people volunteering the information which realistically rarely happens.” However, the Department of Health is maintaining its position that there is currently not enough information to suggest that all implants should be removed.