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Final expert report on PiP breast implants published

The NHS Medical Director’s expert group, which has been looking at PiP breast implants, has published its final report.

The findings of the group include:

  • Exhaustive world-wide testing of the PiP gel material has not revealed anything which could cause a long-term threat to human health – they are not toxic nor carcinogenic.
  • They do, however, have a higher rupture rate – around two times higher. The rate of rupture appears to be around six to 12% after five years, rising to 15 to 30% after 10 years (this compares to 10-14% after 10 years for other brands of implants).
  • PiP implants have a higher concentration of certain compounds called siloxanes – chemically similar to silicone but of a lower molecular weight and found in many consumer products, including hair and skin care products, antiperspirants and deodorants – but this does not present a health risk.
  • Although the contents are not harmful and the gel has not been shown to contain any toxic substances, the inferior mechanical strength of the implants led the group to consider this a substandard product.

The expert group has said that the advice to women who have PiP implants remains unchanged. It is expected that all providers of PIP implants will contact their patients. If women are unsure of the make of their implant they should contact their surgeon or provider.

The group is aware that women who underwent breast augmentation surgery had an expectation that their implants contained medical grade silicone. The providers of cosmetic surgery have a recognised duty of care to minimise the health risk to their patients. The group agrees that anxiety over possible health effects is in itself a form of health risk.

So far 7,098 women who had their PiP implants put in privately have been referred to a specialist on the NHS; 4,349 scans have been done; and 490 women have decided to have their implants removed on the NHS.

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