Doctors pleased over end of Macrolane breast injections

23/04/12

Woman with hand on breast

Plastic surgeons say they are pleased that a breast filler known as the 'lunchtime boob job' has been taken off the market.

There were worries about Macrolane interfering with breast cancer screenings.

The gel - often injected to get rid of wrinkles on the face - can also be used on other areas without general anaesthetic.

Taking 45 minutes, it gives women an enlargement of about one cup size.

Nigel Mercer, a consultant plastic surgeon who speaks for the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), told Newsbeat about his concerns.

The product itself is safe but the effects of having the product inside you may not be
Nigel Mercer, BAAPS

"It's been withdrawn from the market, not because it's not safe, we know this is very safe.

"[But] what happens with Macrolane is it seems to interfere with X-rays of the breast called mammograms."

"The product itself is safe but the effects of having the product inside you may not be.

"In this case, it may delay the diagnosis of a breast cancer or cause a wrong reading of an X-ray - and obviously that isn't safe."

'Safe product'

It is thought up to 4000 people in the UK have had the injections, but Nigel Mercer said one in four BAAPS members had seen Macrolane patients with problems, such as lumps or a change of breast shape.

Macrolane breast enlargement is temporary, normally lasting only a couple of years.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said women who've had Macrolane injections and a screening for breast cancer should contact their GP in case they need to be referred for more tests.

In a statement last week, Q-Med, the company which makes Macrolane, insisted the gel was safe and said that all breast procedures could potentially interfere with mammograms.

However, it added it was no longer recommending Macrolane for the breast until medical experts agreed on the best way to X-ray women who had had the treatment.