WITH concerns still ongoing over the scandal surrounding potentially deficient breast implants made by French company Poly Implant Prosthése (PIP), the Department of Health has issued advice to affected women.
Health Minister David Anderson MHK confirmed in the House of Keys last week that no island breast cancer patients who had reconstruction procedures carried out on the NHS were fitted with PIP implants – which hit the news after revelations that PIP had made them using industrial instead of medical-grade silicone.
But iomtoday has been contacted by a number of women who received PIP implants privately and who are concerned about the lack of information about the risks and about who was responsible for the cost of removing the implants, should this be necessary.
The latest advice from the UK NHS is that women with PIP breast implants do not need to have them removed unless they have symptoms such as pain and tenderness, which may indicate the implant’s casing had split or that there are other problems.
A rupture can be caused as an implant’s shell gets weaker over time – most breast implants, of whatever make, need to be removed or replaced after 10-15 years. Other causes of ruptures include damage during an operation, a breast injury or faulty implants.
Signs that indicate an implant may have ruptured or leaked include lumpiness, swelling, redness, tenderness or a change in shape of the breast or the area around it.
It is emphasised that there is no link between PIP implants and cancer and there is no clear evidence of an increased risk of harm compared to other brands of breast implants.
The Isle of Man Department of Health’s advice to women who are concerned about potential or actual problems with their implants is to find out if the implants are PIP by checking medical notes, or by contacting the clinic or your GP. The department has been assured that no PIP implants were used by either the Linda McCartney Centre and the Plastic Surgery Unit of Whiston Hospital.
If, however, PIP implants were provided by a UK NHS provider elsewhere, then you will receive a letter from the UK NHS in the next few weeks advising you of this.
The UK NHS will offer to remove these implants free of charge.
The Department of Health says you should agree with your specialist or GP over what is best for you. Get advice on whether a scan is needed and discuss the appropriate action with your doctor. If the implants were provided privately, then ask the provider if they will remove them for free.
The following private clinics have said they will replace PIP implants free if clinically necessary: Holly House, Highgate Hospitals, Make Yourself Amazing (MYA Cosmetic Surgery), Ramsay Health Care, Spire Healthcare, BMI Healthcare, Nuffield Healthcare and HCA International.
If a private clinic no longer exists or refuses to remove the PIP implants, the advice is to speak to your GP.
The Isle of Man Health Service will remove the implants if this is clinically necessary. The French company manufactured and distributed the controversial implants from 2001 until production was suspended in March 2010.