UK calm fears over 'leaking' breast implants


PIP breast implant

Women in the UK with a certain type of breast implant are being told there's no need to worry despite doubts over their safety in France.

The French Government have expressed concerns over the breast implants leaking and a possible link to cancer.

The UK's health watchdog, MHRA say tests have showed there's no risk to the 40,000 women who have the implants.

The controversial implants, made by French company PIP were banned in the UK last year.

The French Government is thinking of paying for around 30,000 women with PIP implants to have them removed.

It's claimed PIP, which shut last year, used an unapproved gel which is usually made for mattresses.

The company kept their costs down by using cheap products which meant the implant was more likely to split within the first year, according to claims.

'Cancer link' in France

French health officials also say that nine cases of cancer have been reported in women who had the implants.

Although researchers say the cancer and the implants are not necessarily linked.

My immediate reaction was to return to the cosmetic surgeon and ask for advice
Emma Shelley
Case study

Ash Mosahebi from the British Association of Aesthetic plastic surgeons says these particular implants do pose a risk.

"They do have high incidences of leakage and that's why they were banned in the UK a year and a half ago."

But MHRA, the UK health watchdog says it's been working with professional bodies to look at the incidences of cancer and says there's no risk.

"We did extensive chemical tests and found there was no evidence of any safety aspect associated with this filler," says MHRA Doctor Suzanne Ludgate.

The French Government has formed a special committee looking at these implants.

More than 300,000 of these implants have been sold across the world by PIP over the last 12 years.

Panic amongst British women

Some 40,000 British women with these breast implants could be affected by the French health care warnings.

Emma Shelley from Kent had surgery 18 months ago, "{It was} six weeks before I found out these implants were faulty."

Emma Shelley
Image caption Emma Shelley says it was a huge decision to get implants

"My immediate reaction was to return to the cosmetic surgeon and ask for advice. But he [cosmetic surgeon] told me there was nothing to worry about."

"However, I've since been to my GP and had a scan. I've been told I have liquid under one of implants which they're investigating."

The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons say it's reasonable for British women to consider removing the implants.

The cost of new implants could range from £2,000 to £5,000.

Emma says, "I'm really upset. It was a huge decision for me to have this done and it cost a lot of money - and it looks like I might end up disfigured as a result."

The MHRA say women who are concerned should seek clinical advice from their implanting surgeon but there is no reason for their routine removal.