There is no “definitive data” yet confirming whether PIP implants can cause health problems. Toxicology reports into the filler and shell of PIP implants are ongoing but proving tricky as the silicone concoction varies so greatly from implant to implant. The UK Government keeps using this to argue against routine PIP implant removal. They say the concrete evidence just isn’t there.
Let’s Cut To the Chase
Critics, however, point out that evidence is only lacking because the UK had no breast implant register to record such information. Click here to join the Good Surgeon Guide Breast Implant Register! There is still lots of patient case studies and removal statistics from surgeons to suggest a strong likelihood of PIP-related problems. It is generally accepted now that:
- There is no greater link between PIP implants and cancer than other implant types – French and UK researchers agree, despite the 20 registered French cancer cases amongst PIP victims and many other reports of UK PIPettes with cancer concerns ( read more ). Again, this hangs on lack of solid evidence
- There is a link between PIP implants and irritation or inflammation in the surrounding tissue – this has so far been confirmed using animals
- This irritation and inflammation may effect the lymph nodes until the silicone is cleansed – as witnessed in many patients
- Removal and replacement involving ruptured or leaking PIP implants is more complicated than standard, potentially involving more health complications and a less favourable cosmetic outcome
PIP Implants Rupture Risks
BAAPS acknowledge that evidence for assessing PIP implants rupture rates is currently insufficient and ongoing. The Government Department of Health initially claimed PIP implants had no greater rupture rate than any other implant type but this statement has recently been made less and less. In fact, many surgeons report unusually high rupture rates amongst the PIP implants they have removed so far: up to 25% in some cases click here to view example spreadsheet with the more standard line setting the rate between 8-10% (read more. It is acknowledged, however, that these may be a skewed sample as patients opting for surgical removal are more likely to have had concerns about their PIP implants. The Harley Medical Group still adamantly maintains that the rupture record of PIP implants gives them no cause for concern .
PIP Implants Symptoms
Although very hard to attribute specifically to their implants, Many PIP women report similar symptoms. These include (but are not limited to):
- Hair loss
- Joint pain
- Lymph node lumps and swellings
- Night sweats
- Weight change
- Breast, neck and arm swelling and tenderness
- Breast shape, size and texture changes
- Recurrent flu-like symptoms
Are PIP Implants Safe?
Despite these reports of unpleasant symptoms and anxieties over the safety of PIP implants, some women are still debating leaving them in their bodies. This might be because:
- your clinic or the NHS won’t fund removal and you simply can’t afford it
- your scan results have come back clear (although, as mentioned, scans are not 100% reliable)
- you are happy to trust the current UK Government advice that there is no need to remove PIP implants as a precaution unless you are actually experiencing problems
Should They Stay or Should They Go?
This decision is, of course, entirely up to you. There are pros and cons to both leaving and removing PIP implants.
Removing them means:
- the hassle of trying to claw back money from clinics (possibly involving a legal battle)
- finding the money yourself
- putting your body through another operation with all the usual risks
- it is accepted that PIP implants do tend to complicate surgery (particularly if ruptured or leaking) increasing the chance of complications or a less-than-perfect final result
Leaving them in your body, however, involves:
- playing Russian Roulette with a product that, as yet, the experts do not fully understand: the filler and shell silicone is so variable that toxicology tests are still inconclusive and nobody really knows for sure what the outcome for your health may be
- Based on the experiences of others and feedback from surgeons, it looks possible that PIP implants are not something you would want in your body…but there is no concrete evidence to say this for certain
- Apart from our own UK Government and MHRA, many key organisations (including The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), the British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS), the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ISAPS), the Association of Breast Surgeons (ABS) and the governments of France, Germany, Venezuela and the Czech Republic) agree that PIP implants are not fit for purpose and are unsafe to be left in your body