Cosmetic surgeons call for surgery adverts ban

Ruptured PIP implant The PIP implants were made with low-grade silicone not meant for medical use

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Cosmetic surgery advertising should be banned and annual checks carried out on surgeons, the industry has said.

The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (Baaps) wants measures including increased regulation of the "cowboy" market in the UK.

Prof Sir Bruce Keogh is leading a government review of the trade after the PIP breast implants scandal.

Sir Bruce has said an insurance scheme for the sector, similar to that in the travel industry, could be introduced.

'Marketing gimmicks'

The government is also considering the introduction of a breast implant registry to make a record of all cosmetic operations.

Baaps said cosmetic surgery as a medical procedure should not be advertised, in the same way that the promotion of prescription medicines is banned.

Start Quote

In no other area of surgery would one encounter Christmas vouchers and two-for-one offers”

End Quote Fazel Fatah President, British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons

Baaps president Fazel Fatah said: "Over the last decade the Baaps has worked tirelessly to educate the public on the many aggressive marketing gimmicks that not only trivialise surgery but endanger the patient.

"We have warned against the unrealistic expectations set by reality 'makeover' shows and against crass competition prizes promising 'mummy makeovers' and body overhauls.

"In no other area of surgery would one encounter Christmas vouchers and two-for-one offers - the pendulum has swung too far, and it is time for change.

"Thus we are delighted with the upcoming inquiry and put forward our realistic and achievable proposals for consideration by the government."

'Patient welfare'

The Independent Healthcare Advisory Services represents the cosmetic surgery industry.

Its director Sally Taber told the BBC that "this type of advertising has increased to an inapproprate level".

However, she added: "We do not agree that there should be a total ban on cosmetic surgery advertising.

"Advertising should be honest and ethical, in everybody's interests so the patient is aware of what is available.

"We have worked hard with Baaps to ensure there isn't this incentivised advertising."

The faulty implants were made by the now-closed French company Poly Implant Prostheses (PIP) and filled with industrial rather than medical grade silicone.

Some 300,000 of the implants were sold around the world, mainly in Europe.

About 40,000 women in the UK received PIP implants, with 95% dealt with by private clinics.

The government has said implants given on the NHS can be removed and replaced free of charge, and removed but not replaced if it was done privately.

Private clinics have varied in their response to whether they will remove the implants for free.

NHS medical director Sir Bruce said: "I am working with experts from the plastic surgery field to look at what we can do to make sure people who choose to have cosmetic surgery and other cosmetic procedures are safe.

"I will be looking at all aspects of regulation, at the regulation of implants and fillers, at whether the people who carry out cosmetic interventions have the right skills, at whether the clinics look after the care and welfare of their patients."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 148.

    zlive. Would you really entrust the advertising industry to put across a message regarding prescription drugs? I mean, it's not as if this industry has ever been prone to exageration, lying or even making up psuedo-medical expressions in order to sell their wares is it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 147.

    All about money and making sure the ripoff merchants ans rich surgeons and clinic owners dont dip out like all othe problems created in the name of wealth they expect the peasants to bail them out

  • rate this

    Comment number 146.

    The government authorised the use of these implants as safe to use so shouldn't they take the blame. I think the government should take a pay cut to pay for the implants. They get paid big money to make sure we are safe. Well they got this one wrong. Now women all over the country are worried about their health & are not getting the answers they deserve.

  • rate this

    Comment number 145.

    If people lead such shallow lives as to worry about their natural appearance and go for surgery to enhance their looks, any consequences of a bad job are deservedly theirs.

    The celebrity culture is to blame.

  • rate this

    Comment number 144.

    There are women who may have breast implants of questionable quality that need help now. By the time the ifs and buts are sorted out, any risk to their health may have manifested itself. It could be a race against time. So, is there a case for removal operations now, funded by the NHS but then refunded by those responsible? Not sure of the pros and cons but just a thought.

  • rate this

    Comment number 143.

    There are NO objective principles of justice, of rights and of individual freedom to limit the government."

    Well, we can debate how "objective" they are but the European Convention on Human Rights does enshrine individual freedoms and imposes constraints on the government. Anything the government might ban is open to challenge in the courts.

  • rate this

    Comment number 142.

    A ban on advertising along the same lines as prescription medicines will deny consumers access to relevant information that helps them make an informed choice about their medical treatment. In the US, advertising for prescription medicines is legal and as a consequence US consumers are much better informed and educated about their healthcare. Lets not deny British consumers that choice!

  • rate this

    Comment number 141.

    Since there is no respect for individual rights in Britain, the government can ban (and do) anything it wants "if it can get away with it". There are NO objective principles of justice, of rights and of individual freedom to limit the government. We're trending towards tyranny, but because it happens so slowly, people don't realise it's happening, until they can no longer do anything about it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 140.

    It's so sad that huge numbers of girls turn to major surgery to 'fix' a self image problem that only exists in their minds.

    To all girls out there thinking of sugery: Don't. It won't change anything. Try and focus on your positives rather than negatives and realise that even if you can't see it yourself, there ARE people who will think you're beautiful just the way you are.

  • rate this

    Comment number 139.

    Peter_Sym. I did not say anything about the clinics. My remarks were aimed soley at the manufacturers. The clinics were to blame for choosing the cheapest around. The manufacturer was to blame for using the wrong grade silicone in order to make their product cheaper, at the expense of other, more ethical, manufacturers as well as peoples health.

  • rate this

    Comment number 138.

    Perpetual Sigh (No. 35)

    Please dont link all cescerean sections with cosmetic surgery. Not all are for vanity reasons. I wish I hadn't needed an emergency one but it was the only way to save my life and the life of my daughter when labour went horribly wrong.

  • rate this

    Comment number 137.

    #117 and others. Read the house rules. I was unable to point out how much tax payers money had been given to a prominent lawyer in legal aid for a very spurious legal case (despite being reported in the Telegraph) as that 'broke house rules' on libel. If you can PROVE any clinic knew these implants were faulty thats one thing. Just presuming they did and saying so is libel.

  • rate this

    Comment number 136.

    I'd like to see a public health campaign highlighting the health risks of having any cosmetic surgery. Fake boobs = fake persona in my experience. As for the NHS footing the bill for this mess, that seems immoral when cancer patients are left to die because their NHS trust can't afford the specialist drugs.

  • rate this

    Comment number 135.

    "Cosmetic" surgery should be at the patient's own risk, as "cosmetic" implies that it is being done to fit a stereotype or to undo a mistake (say, a tattoo) made earlier. Anyone opting for it should be made to take out appropriate insurance in case anything goes wrong. It should not be up to the NHS to bail out bad cosmetic surgery companies.

  • rate this

    Comment number 134.

    If this is a sign of things to come - ie the right wing insistance that Private healthcare is best - then be very afraid.

    I am not against reconstructive surgery (which is mainly done on the NHS anyway), but cosmetic surgery for the sake of vanity is not really necessary. If the NHS can replace any implants that they have fitted then the private clinics should be prepared to do the same.

  • rate this

    Comment number 133.

    The private clinics didn't make the faulty implants. They used implants that were approved fror use by official govt. bodies"

    If Kwik-Fit install brake pads that had once met MoT specifications but no longer do on your car, who is your compalint with? It's certainly not the MoT and it matters not that Kwik-Fit were unaware. They still have to fix it at their own cost if necessary.

  • rate this

    Comment number 132.

    The media are not only complicit but integral to constructing body dissatisfaction. Lunch-hour botox and boob jobs are presented as something positive; thinness lionised and the myriad dangers of the current fad for weight-loss surgery completely glossed over. It's no coincidence that last week's protest by size activists against diet industry tactics was completely ignored by the news media.

  • rate this

    Comment number 131.

    For the manufacturers, we can expect criminal proceedings.

    The samples tested by regulators were fine, you can't blame them for subsequent fraudulent passing off.

    Scrap limited liability for health care organisations,that would concentrate directors' minds.

  • rate this

    Comment number 130.

    The private clinics didn't make the faulty implants. They used implants that were approved fror use by official govt. bodies.

    So, are they really responsible for the problem?

  • rate this

    Comment number 129.

    "the pendulum has swung too far, and it is time for a change" -
    now isn't that an ad in disguise?


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