Cosmetic surgery views sought after breast implant scare


Sir Bruce Keogh, head of the review: "There are some pretty grubby practices going on"

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People are being asked for their views on the cosmetic surgery industry after the recent PIP scandal, where thousands of women were given breast implants containing substandard material.

The review, requested by the health secretary, will look at whether tighter regulation is needed in England.

And it will ask if people are given enough information about surgery.

About 7,000 women in England are having checks for faulty breast implants and hundreds have now had them removed.

Although the unauthorised silicone filler used in the PIP breast implants is not thought to be toxic or cancer-causing, there were safety concerns.

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I am concerned that too many people do not realise how serious cosmetic surgery is and do not consider the lifelong implications it can have”

End Quote Sir Bruce Keogh NHS Medical Director

They were found to have double the rupture rate of other implants.

Around 47,000 women in the UK have PIP breast implants, mostly done privately rather than on the NHS.

Lessons to learn

The problem came to light at the end of 2011, shortly after the French government recommended all women with PIP implants have them removed as a precaution.

But there were warnings made by surgeons to UK authorities about adverse effects for many years before this.

Prof Sir Bruce Keogh, who is leading the English review which will report in early 2013, said: "The recent problems with PIP breast implants have shone a light on the cosmetic surgery industry.

"Many questions have been raised, particularly around the regulation of clinics, whether all practitioners are adequately qualified, how well people are advised when money is changing hands, aggressive marketing techniques, and what protection is available when things go wrong.

"I am concerned that too many people do not realise how serious cosmetic surgery is and do not consider the lifelong implications it can have. That's why I have put together this review committee to advise me in making recommendations to government on how we can better protect people who choose to have surgery or cosmetic interventions.

Cost an issue

"We want to hear views from everyone, particularly people who have experience of the cosmetic surgery industry or of other cosmetic interventions - good and bad - so we can learn what works best."

A poll by ComRes of 1,762 people shows that many people consider the cost of surgery more important than the qualifications of the people doing it or how they will be looked after.

Two-thirds of those questioned considered cost as a factor when deciding whether or not to have cosmetic surgery. Half said they would take the qualifications of their doctor into consideration and less than half would consider the quality of their aftercare when reaching a decision.

And as a result of the PIP breast implant scandal, almost half of women who said they would have considered cosmetic surgery before, say that they are now less likely to have it.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    The reasons for cosmetic surgery fall into two broad categories
    1. correction of disfigured, abnormal or damaged tissue
    2. vanity improvements
    The NHS should decide the category and only support corrective surgery. Vanity improvements should be funded by the patient and the consequences accepted. On your own head (or breasts) be it. If the patient is not happy, get insurance beforehand or sue.

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    Yes if you are going to have cosmetic surgery, the surgeon should be properly qualified, you should be told the risks & corrective procedures that might be required. Yes after care should be included.

    But remember this whole fiasco was down to the illegal actions of PIP & not any mistake by the surgeons who used these implants which had the correct approvals.

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    Is it someone's right to ask others to pay for their operation so that they can look better?
    If not, can we just let the taxpayers decide. Save some money for, say, our veterans? I am not against surgery for people who's injured during public services, but this should not be open to public.

  • Comment number 20.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    It's quite simple. All operators need to be registered and carry an indemnity insurance, which is paid for via a surcharge on the original operation. In cases such as PIP, the NHS can then claim back the cost of rectification work from the insurer.

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    8. Pretty sure native Brits are more than capable of being misogynistic idiots. And xenophobes too. Just saying.

    I'm not totally clear on why public opinion suddenly matters, given how routinely it is ignored on everything else. Except that of course this time they know we will give them the answer they want to hear.

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    Key point is the responsibility of the private cosmetic surgery industry - PIP going bust and the clinics which used their implants not willing/able to take responsibility for rectifying the issue is unacceptable. There needs to be an ATOL/ABTA type industry scheme to pick to pick up the pieces - which will make cosmetic surgery more expensive - so be it. This is NOT an NHS responsibility.

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    If you are being looked at because nature has inflicted you with a visible defect go for it. If you are wanting to be looked at get a life. The chances of you even being here are billions upon billions to one, that is why you look like you.

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    Attractiveness is as much a state of mind as a physical reality - treat yourself well and you will feel good and others will be attracted to that.

    People should grow old gracefully - eating healthy, exercising and not getting sunburned are much better ways to a decent looking old age than the surgeons' knife.

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    I went with a friend for moral support to Prague, he was having his ears pinned. I came back with a facelift which i ordered over the counter like a pizza. It was the MOST INSANE thing I have ever done. there was NO psychological assessment or advice and it messed up my mind for nearly two years in healing fully. I can't blame the clinic but do blame TV who glamorize major procedures for ratings.

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    People who have cosmetic surgery generally look worse after they've had surgery.

    Which makes the whole thing an expensive ripoff.

    But hey, that's our shallow, image-obsessed society !

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    It's not just about licensing. When procedures go wrong, the NHS clears up the mess. As a taxpayer, I see no reason why the public sector should cover the private sector's patients both here and abroad.

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    I was greatly inspired by the Olympics closing ceremony and will now be making myself into a plastic Brit. To see Team GB represented by the world's best thin-women-walking-round-snarling was good but then we had pouting-women-miming-on-taxis. Truly world class and impossible without the devoted, selfless work by our brave Harley Street trainers. Makes we proud to be British.

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    Anyone who goes under the knife for non-medical reasons is a can short of a six pack in my opinion
    Doctors who encourage this practice are no better either and should be downgraded

    So now we have the government looking to regulate an industry populated entirely by fruit loops

    Your taxpayer dollars at work...

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    People who feel the need for cosmetic surgery when there is generally nothing wrong with their body, especially in the case of believing their breasts are too small should be offered couselling before deciding to go through with the opperation.

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    to number 2 what was your arguement ? are you saying women shouldnt be allowed to vote and participate in the running of this country? i feel you must be either a chauvanist or of some non british type and trying to bring in something that is of an overseas nature, this is the problem these days too many non british comming here then forcing there concepts on us please dont.

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    If you're going to run a survey I'd suggest limiting it to people who've actually had cosmetic surgery and therefore know what they're talking about rather than once reading something in the Sunday Post about people getting plastic surgery on the NHS (which almost never happens)

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    Here's my view on cosmetic surgery :

    Jordan's whams are way too big !

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    This is Simple.
    If you choose to have a private operation out of your own free will and make that decision, pay for that, your dispute is only with them. The NHS should have NO responsibility for it, or rectification of any issues that arise from it. That is a private matter.
    If you can afford to have it in the first place, you should be able to afford to deal with it if it goes wrong too!

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    Plastic surgery should not be provided by the NHS nor backed by tax money with the exception of reconstructive surgery.

    Same should be true of IVF for people who already have 1 child or more.


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