Reassurance for county patients over implants

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HEALTH officials have reassured people who have had breast implants in Northamptonshire that they are not the controversial type manufactured in France.

Concerns have been raised about silicone implants made across the channel by Poly Implant Prothese, mainly used for private cosmetic enhancement.

County hospitals have been inundated with calls from worried residents but have allayed any fears, saying they have never used the implants responsible for the problems.

Kettering General Hospital’s clinical lead for breast reconstruction surgery Thangasamy Sankar said: “We can reassure all of the patients who have had implant surgery at Kettering General Hospital since we launched our reconstruction service in 2008 that they are not affected by the current controversy about PIP implants.

“We have not used these implants on any of the patients who came to us for reconstructive surgery.

“Last year we did 40 to 60 reconstructions but we give patients a card telling them what type of implant they’ve been given.

“But we’ve still had people calling who are anxious to know whether what’s been said in the media affects them.

“With any implant going into the body there’s always a small risk but we take that into consideration and ensure the benefits outweigh it. I would still say it’s safe for people to get breast implants – they’ve come a long way in the past 30 years.”

France banned the implants in 2010 and officials said they needed to be taken out due to a high risk of leaking.

They were found to contain industrial, rather than medical grade, silicone gel.

Northampton General Hospital and the private Woodland Hospital near Kettering also confirmed that they have never used PIP implants.

Anybody who has had implants and is concerned should contact their GP or the relevant private surgeon for advice.

The Department of Health yesterday issued a statement which said there is not enough evidence to recommend routine removal of these breast implants.

But the statement also said: “However, it is undeniably the case that these implants are made up of non-medical grade silicone and therefore should not have been implanted in women in the first place.

“We recognise that this will be worrying for women with PIP implants and that they need to be properly supported by those that performed the implantations.

“The NHS will support removal of PIP implants if, after this consultation, the patient still has concerns and with her doctor she decides that it is right to do so.

“The NHS will replace the implants if the original operation was done by the NHS.”

The statement also said: “We expect the private sector to do the same for their patients.”