NHS: ‘No Long Term Risk’ From PIP Implants
Women have been assured that faulty PIP breast implants should not cause any long term health problems.
NHS medical director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh said in his review of the scandal that the implants are twice as likely to rupture as other brands.
His report concludes that although women may suffer irritation and swelling of the lymph nodes if the implants leak, they will not have any significant lasting effects.
Around 47,000 British women are believed to have been given the implants manufactured by the French company Poly Implant Prosthese.
Many have had theirs removed since it emerged the implants were filled with industrial-grade silicone intended for use in mattresses.
Professor Keogh said: “This has been an incredibly worrying time for women.
“Repeated tests on different batches of PIP implants have been carried out in the UK, France and Australia according to international standards.
“Those tests have shown that the implants are not toxic and therefore we do not believe they are a threat to the long-term health of women who have PIP implants.”
The report found that after 10 years between 15% and 30% of PIP implants will rupture. Other brands have a 10% to 14% rupture rate over the same period.
The PIP implants contain chemicals called siloxanes, which are similar to silicone and are found in many other consumer products, including antiperspirants and deodorants.
If the implants rupture, the chemicals can cause tenderness or swollen lymph glands in some women.
“We would therefore advise that women who have symptoms of a rupture – for example tenderness, soreness or lumpiness – should speak to their surgeon or GP,” Professor Keogh said.
“I would ask all GPs to refer any patient who has concerns about their PIP implants to a specialist.”
Consultant plastic surgeon and president of the Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons Fazel Fatah welcomed the report.
“We agree with the report findings that anxiety itself is a form of health risk and thus it is entirely reasonable for women to have the right to opt for removal – regardless of whether there has been rupture.”
Women have been urged to contact the clinic that implanted the devices if they suffer side effects.
If a private clinic refuses help the NHS in England and Scotland will remove the implants. In Wales the NHS will also replace them with an alternative brand.
So far 750 women have already, or will, have their implants removed on the NHS – 490 of whom had the implants put in at private clinics.
Last month a separate report concluded that the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency should have warned women about their concerns over the implants earlier and more effectively.