Faulty French breast implants stirs up cosmetic surgery regulation

August 29, 2012

Faulty French breast implants stirs up cosmetic surgery regulation
Faulty French breast implants stirs up cosmetic surgery regulation

A recent scandal in Europe has forced more than 490 women in the UK to undergo surgery to remove faulty breast implants, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. These faulty implants, created by Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) SA, were pulled by French authorities in 2010 after they found there was a higher rupture rate. Even after the recall, it was recommended last year that all women who have had the French implants have them removed.

According to the news provider, more than 47,000 women in the UK had received these implants, with 95 percent getting them from private practice.

The faulty breast implants were never used or sold in the US, but it does show the dangers of traveling to another country for surgery, otherwise known as medical tourism. Not only should patients understand the risks involved in products developed outside the US and not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but also realize that implants are not lifetime devices and require follow-up from a board-certified plastic surgeon.

"The recent problems with PIP breast implants have shone a light on the cosmetic surgery industry [in the UK]," National Health Service Medical Director Bruce Keogh said in the statement. "Many questions have been raised, particularly around the regulation of clinics, whether all practitioners are adequately qualified, how well people are advised when money is changing hands, aggressive marketing techniques, and what protection is available when things go wrong."

The Department of Health will review the safety and protocols of various cosmetic procedures, including facelifts, nose jobs, liposuction and breast surgery. The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) believes a national register and restricting advertising would also help protect patients.

According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), it's important to feel comfortable with a surgeon, and individuals thinking of getting any kind of procedure should not choose someone simply based on cost.

Additionally, patients will not have to feel as though they are being treated in an unsafe environment if they have a board-certified plastic surgeon. These professionals are not only accredited, but so are their facilities. 

The mission of the Aesthetic Society includes medical education, public education and patient advocacy. Plastic Surgery News Briefs are summaries of current stories found through various news and magazine outlets that relate to or mention plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures. The views expressed in these news articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Aesthetic Society, but are merely published as an educational service to our members and the general public. For additional information on these subjects and other plastic surgery related topics, please go to www.surgery.org

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