New implants warning: More women at risk from suspect silicone sold under different name
45,000 women have PIP implants – but thousands more may have them under a different nameDutch implant manufacturer Rofil thought to have a long-standing arrangement to buy PIP implants
‘Golf ball size swelling’: Jo Tooley feared she had cancer – but instead the implant had ruptured
Thousands more women may be at risk after it emerged that suspect PIP breast implants were repackaged and sold under a second name.
Industry experts estimate that some 5,000 British women have Rofil M-implants, described as simply being PIPs with a different branding.
Last night, plastic surgeons and patients said it was vital that women know that it is not just the PIP name that is suspect.
Fresh fears: The PIP breast implants at the centre of a safety storm were also repackaged and sold under a different name
One woman told how she believed she had breast cancer after a gel that leaked from a split M-implant left her in excruciating pain and created a lump the size of a golf ball.
The warning came as Health Secretary
Andrew Lansley said he would consider setting up a national register for
breast implants and called on private clinics to pay for any PIP
implants that have leaked to be removed. The Government, however, still
refuses to advise mass removal.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said he would consider setting up a national register for breast implants
Yesterday, as the medical watchdog continued to collect data on rupture rates, the Nuffield Health chain pledged to follow Mr Lansley’s advice. And, in a slightly unusual move, an Austrian clinic offered to remove all PIP implants from British women willing to pay to fly to Vienna.
Until now, the implant scandal was widely thought to be limited to those made by Poly Implant Protheses in France and filled with a gel believed to have been made for mattresses.
But industry experts believe that while some 45,000 British women have PIP implants, thousands more may have them without realising.
A Dutch implant manufacturer called Rofil is believed to have had a long-standing agreement to buy implants from PIP. They were then rebranded as M-implants but the contents remained the same.
While they were not sold to British clinics, the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons says many UK women would have had them implanted when they travelled abroad to countries such as Belgium, Poland and the Czech Republic for cut-price operations.
Some 20,000 women a year go abroad for cosmetic surgery and breast enlargements are particularly popular.
The Dutch healthcare inspectorate banned the sale of both PIP and M-implants in the spring of 2010.
Rofil has gone bankrupt and could not be contacted for comment. But Bernard Murphy, an investigative journalist who has been probing the implant scandal for two years believes some M-implants are still on sale.
Mr Murphy, of the Clinica Medtech Intelligence medical news service, says there are reports of the implants being used in Estonia as little as two months ago.
Simon Withey, a plastic surgeon advising the Government on the scandal, said that any advice about PIPs must also be extended to M-implants.
Mr Withey, a BAAPS member, said: ‘Those with M-implants should also seek advice. I would suggest they do not seek advice from the surgeon who put them in because I suspect they are probably not going to give the best advice.’
Concern about PIP implants flared at the weekend when figures suggested a 7 per cent rupture rate for Britain.
Mr Lansley ordered a review of the data amid speculation he would order mass removal of the implants, which were among the cheapest on the market. The industry’s own investigation has since claimed the figure to be much lower, at 1 to 2 per cent, and so ‘within the industry standard’.
An expert panel of surgeons, officials and statisticians met with Mr Lansley yesterday. Their recommendation is expected tomorrow, the deadline for clinics to submit their data.
BAAPS says the implants are not fit to be in the human body and so should be removed, whatever the rupture rate.