Six months of uncertainty ends as Government Expert Group publishes Final Report on PIP breast implants
Today (18 June 2012) the Government Expert Group chaired by NHS Medical Director Sir Bruce Keogh released its Final Report following an extensive review of previous and new evidence available about the content and performance of the PIP breast implants.
The British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS), which represents Plastic Surgeons on behalf of the Royal Colleges, has been part of the Government’s Expert Group on PIP breast implants since its formation in January 2012.
Tim Goodacre, Head of Professional Standards at BAPRAS and a leading Consultant Plastic Surgeon, said:
“After nearly six months of uncertainty, we now have clarity and can be reassured that, despite the use of non-medical grade silicone, PIP breast implants do not show any evidence of potential harm to human health. This is very good news.
“However, we have found that PIP breast implants are significantly more likely to rupture than other types of implants, and are more likely to be associated with signs such as lumpiness or lymph node enlargement. While this is not known to be harmful, it may understandably cause anxiety amongst women with PIP implants. BAPRAS members have already operated on many women who have chosen to have their implants proactively removed and we expect this to continue.
“It is critical that all the women involved feel fully supported and our advice remains the same; they should return to their implanting clinic for a consultation and that clinic should take full responsibility for supporting them. However, if women are not getting the help they need, then they should talk to their GP and be referred to an appropriately qualified surgeon operating within the NHS.
“Critically, we now need to focus on preventing this from happening again and to ask why these high rupture rates were unknown until now. The fact that it has taken nearly six months for the rupture rates to come to light raises many questions about how data is captured by private clinics and reinforces BAPRAS’s call for a compulsory register of all operations using breast implants.
“As the private sector plays an increasing role in the delivery of health interventions, we need to see the introduction of mandatory reporting for both public and private procedures that will enable quality of service and patient safety to remain at the centre of every intervention.
“We are pleased that the Government has taken on board such a depth of clinical opinion to help shape its response to the PIP situation and that we have been able to play a significant role in the process. We look forward to continuing discussions over reforms of cosmetic surgery regulation, as was announced by the Government earlier in the year.”
Tim Goodacre and BAPRAS President Richard Milner represented British plastic surgeons at the Global Leadership Forum in Munich, Germany at the end of May where representatives of plastic surgery associations from around the world gathered to address key aspects of the profession.
Commenting on the need for international collaboration, Tim Goodacre continued:
“Plastic surgery is taking place within an international market place and we need to work closely with colleagues across the world to advance patient safety. This has been highlighted by the PIP breast implant situation. What we have learnt from the Australian model of breast implant register, which respects both the need for all clinics to report outcomes alongside the desire for some patients to remain confidential by including an ‘opt out’ clause, are going to be particularly important for the UK going forward.”
BAPRAS, the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, is the voice of plastic surgery in the UK. It aims to increase the understanding of the professional specialty and scope of plastic surgery, promoting innovation in teaching, learning and research.
Founded in 1946 (originally as the British Association of Plastic Surgeons), today BAPRAS has over 800 members and is the professional representative body for reconstructive and aesthetic plastic surgeons providing services to patients on the NHS and privately in the UK. Members of the public can find a member plastic surgeon in their area by logging on to www.bapras.org.uk. Anyone can check the GMC to find out if a surgeon is on the plastic surgery specialist register; http://www.gmc-uk.org/register/search/index.asp