Suspect Breast Implants Ignites Wave of Panic; Scores of Women in UK Start Legal Action
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In the UK, women who have breast implants aren’t getting a warm and fuzzy for Christmas.

The British government said today that women with suspect breast implants made in France should not hit the panic button and get them removed; however, scores of women contacted attorneys claiming the implants had damaged their health.


The French government recommended today that tens of thousands of women in France should have implants removed; the implants are made of an unsuitable silicone gel by a firm that exported worldwide.

In Britain, an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 women also have implants made by Poly Implant Prothese (PIP), which went bankrupt in 2010.

However, Chief Medical Officer Sally Davies was quoted as saying in the reuters.com article: “Women with PIP implants should not be unduly worried. We have no evidence of a link to cancer or an increased risk of rupture.”

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“While we respect the French government’s decision, no other country is taking similar steps because we currently have no evidence to support it. Because of this, and because removing these implants carries risk in itself, we are not advising routine removal of these implants.”

united kingdom

On the other side of the coin, Kevin Hancock, a consultant plastic surgeon at the Liverpool Women’s Hospital told Reuters that there were concerns in the profession over a high rupture rate. “We are worried about the rupture risk because it is the rupture that brings the contents into direct contact with the body’s tissues. We know that the contents were not what they were supposed to be. So in general we agree with the (French) decision to remove them,” he was quoted as saying.

Scores of women have initiated legal action, in large part against the private clinics that performed their breast enlargement operations. The number of potential cases is increasing by the minute.

Today, two law firms that were already seeking to mount class action suits on behalf of affected women said they had been swamped with inquiries over the past few days from women alarmed at the reports from France.

Hugh James Solicitors  has been working on a class action suit on behalf of about 250 women for several weeks and is investigating claims put forward by a further 150 women.

Esyllt Hughes, a solicitor at the firm, which is based in Cardiff, in Wales, was quoted as saying: “In addition to that, we’ve had about 100 new inquiries just in the last few days.”

The Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) company was ordered to close by the French government for allegedly making the implants fraudulently using unsanctioned silicone gel.

At the end of March 2010, the French medical regulatory authority (AFSSAPS) informed the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) that it had suspended the marketing, distribution, export and use of the silicone gel filled PIP breast implants manufactured by a French company. The French authority recalled all of these devices at that point.

On inspecting the PIP manufacturing facility, the AFSSAPS found that breast implants made by the company since 2001 had been filled with a silicone gel with a composition different from that used to obtain their original European CE Mark approval, making it illegal.


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