PIP implants – worse than originally thought?

Breast implantA study reported in the International Journal of Surgical Reconstructions has offered a new insight in to the PIP implant scandal – revealing that the instances of rupture may be greater than government reports would have led us to believe.

The study, which was conducted by Spire Murray Hospital in Edinburgh, reveals findings that indicate the problem was far greater than initial reports found.

Furthermore, they also highlight a marked difference in ruptures between PIP implants that were implanted before 2003 and those which were implanted afterwards. 2003 is believed to be the year that industrial-grade silicone was first used by the French company responsible for manufacturing them.

The study consisted of examining patient records, surgical findings and investigations. Between the period of 1999 and 2007, 429 patients were called for recall for their PIP implants at the Edinburgh hospital and were offered a full consultation, USS scan and explantation, if they desired it. Of the 429, 338 patients came back for a recall with surprising results.

2003 – a turning point for PIPs?

Almost 40% of patients who received PIP implants after 2003 were revealed to have ruptured implants, compared to just over 21% of those who had the implants before 2003. This was despite having older implants, when ruptures may be expected to become more commonplace. This is at odds with official government figures released last year.

Initially, the UK regulator, the Medicine and Healthcare products Regulator Agency (MHRA) advised a rupture rate of 1%. This did increase however when they admitted that the rupture rate for PIP implants was greater than the industry average, at 6-12% after 5 years, rising to between 15 and 30% between 6 and 12 years.