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.

Start Quote

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 83.

    I get the impression from reading these comments that a lot of you think this is about people getting breast implants on the NHS. The article states pretty clearly that that is very rarely the case. "Cosmetic surgery" can be, e.g., to replace tissue lost in a mastectomy. But as ever, the great British public would rather sneer, even if it means looking like they can't read in the process.

  • rate this

    Comment number 82.

    There should only be NHS cosmetic surgery for medical reasons be they physical or psychological. If private cosmetic surgery goes wrong and further treatment is needed this should be provided through the private sector, not the NHS. If people are silly enough to put their health and life on the line for the sake of vanity they must ensure that they have sufficient funds to pay for corrections.

  • rate this

    Comment number 81.

    The always make boobs with breast enlargements.

  • rate this

    Comment number 80.

    When I was having my third arm re-fitted to my second knee,my other head fell off and I had to go the NHS.

  • rate this

    Comment number 79.

    Save a life but dont replace the bought-in bits. Insurance is needed for extreme sports it should be required for any surgical intervention by private practitioners and beauticians.

  • rate this

    Comment number 78.

    #75 that IS how it works. There's virtually no 'vanity' cosmetic surgery on the NHS and circumcision is usually carried out in the mosque / synagogue (by a guy called a 'Moyle' if you're Jewish). If the NHS would give you a boob job for free the private clinics (who's adverts fill the back 10 pages of Cosmo etc) would be out of business in minutes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 77.

    Any kind of plastic surgery for non medical reasons should be banned for anyone under the age of 21.
    Plastic surgery for non medical reasons should not be carried out on the NHS.
    Private companies that carry out plastic surgery should be liable for their product should it go wrong or be found to be faulty as a lifetime guarantee.

  • rate this

    Comment number 76.

    72. Delbhoy82
    I've always had big ears,
    Why? Wouldn't Noddy pay the ransom?

  • rate this

    Comment number 75.

    First principles should apply.

    In medicine, no surgical procedure should EVER be carried out unless there's a medical need. Medical needs can be physical or psychological.

    In practice, this should mean no surgical procedure should be carried out *on the NHS* unless there's a medical need.

    So in the majority of cases, this means no cosmetic surgery (and also no religious circumcision etc).

  • rate this

    Comment number 74.

    As a dentist, I am disgusted what doctors and dentists do to people just to make money. Just google 'bride of wildenstein' and tell me that her surgeon did that for HER benefit.

  • rate this

    Comment number 73.

    If its purely for reasons of vanity and not reconstruction the recipiant should pay.

    If the operation goes wrong the recipiant should also pay, not the NHS.

  • rate this

    Comment number 72.

    I've always had big ears, they stuck out a bit more than the norm.

    Growing up as a kid I got used to all the comments like 'Dumbo, FA Cup head, Lineker etc'

    There was always the option to have them pinned back on the NHS but I was made aware of the risks. One of them was dying on the operating table!

    I'm a grown man now and guess what, my ears still stick out!

    Vanity is an interesting thing...

  • rate this

    Comment number 71.

    Just as I expect the bloke who fixes my car to know what he's doing and to be trained on relevant models/systems, so should people offering cosmetic surgery... and just as I expect the bloke who fixes my car to put right any problems caused by his work, so should people offering cosmetic surgery.

  • rate this

    Comment number 70.

    @Del - agreed. Cosmetic surgery for accident victims or necessary surgery is very different from that of people like "Jordan" who financially benefitted from the attention.

  • rate this

    Comment number 69.

    This nation's obsession with vacuous "celebrity" culture has a lot to answer for in this respect. Wannabes with their craving for 15 minutes of fame and puerile pap like TOWIE have an adverse effect on a large part of the (mainly) younger members of society. Fake tans, hair weaves, collagen implants, botox...and tatooes! Sadly, this is what so many misguided 20-somethings aspire to!

  • rate this

    Comment number 68.

    Yes i agree with cosmetic/plasticSurgery when thing go wrong and people have disfigurements form birth defects, accidents.etc. If people who want reaugmentation of their body just to look better thern you pay for it additionally you pay for it when it goes wrong as well.

    Be happy with the way you are. You were born that way!

  • rate this

    Comment number 67.

    If women want breast enlargements for no other reason than vanity, wanting Jordan size bazookas just to be gawked at no higher than their neck, then maybe they should be working on their self-esteem first rather than look to so-called celebrities.

  • rate this

    Comment number 66.

    31.Bill Walker
    Also, be honest chaps, if there was a male enhancement implant available would there be any shortage of customers?
    The reduction procedure is no cakewalk I can tell you.

  • rate this

    Comment number 65.

    If airheads want to go under the knife to look even more fake, let them get on with it.

    Just don't stand there with your hand out when it goes wrong.

  • rate this

    Comment number 64.

    31.Bill Walker
    Also, be honest chaps, if there was a male enhancement implant available would there be any shortage of customers?
    There is such a procedure... they slit open the 'member' and enhance it with fat taken from other parts of the body. Works very well but sometimes it goes wrong & makes things smaller, other times things can be a bit squint.

    I think I'm happy the way I am thanks!


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