UK Report: PIP Breast Implants Not Toxic, But Have High Rupture Rates
PIP breast implants do not cause cancer, according to a new study by the British Department of Health.
These implants—which were filled with industrial-grade silicone—are not toxic, but they do have higher-than-average rupture rates when compared with other silicone gel-filled implants. If and when the PIP implants rupture, women may suffer irritation and swelling of the lymph nodes, but will not have any significant lasting health effects.
An estimated 300,000 women in 65 countries received breast implants from the now defunct company, Poly Implant Prothèse (PIP). The implants were banned in 2010, and the company went bankrupt later that year. These implants were never approved for sale in the US, but several US doctors have removed PIP implants from women who received them in other countries.
The new report was conducted by Bruce Keogh, the medical director of Britain's National Health Service. He analyzed data on 240,000 breast implants from different manufacturers given to 130,000 women in England as well as information from other countries including France and Australia.
The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) lauds the new report.
"Despite rigorous testing showing no long-term danger to human health from the individual chemicals in the gel, the fact remains that PIPs are significantly more likely to rupture and leak and, therefore, cause physical reactions in an unacceptable proportion of the patients, says BAAPS President Fazel Fatah in a press release. “Any and all women should be given the option to discuss their individual needs and should be fully supported by their provider whatever their choice, removal or monitoring, [and] we fully support the report's conclusions that all providers who implanted PIPs have a responsibility to proactively share with their patients objective and up-to-date information about the risks to their health so they can make an informed decision on the removal of their implants."
Affected countries differ in how they treat women with the PIP implants, and who should foot the bill. German medical groups recommended that women seek nonurgent removal of the implants. France has said it will pay for some 30,000 French women to have their PIP implants removed. The UK government has agreed to remove any implants put in by the National Health Service, but said women who had the surgery done privately should have those clinics remove their implants.