At grassroots level, PIP (Poly Implant Prothese) is a French manufactured brand of silicone breast implants by a now-bankrupt company. Unlike the majority of breast implant brands, however, PIP implants recently reached dizzy heights of media publicity…for all the wrong reasons. It turns out, many cost-cutting steps were fraudulently taken in the production of these implants so low prices could be passed on to breast enlargement providers:
Implant Shell Issues: Quality breast implants are made through an elaborate process of dipping into silicone multiple times, drying in-between, until a super-strong shell is formed. With PIPs, this process was seemingly skimped, resulting in fragile shells prone to rupture and leakage of the inner contents (a problem known as ‘gel bleed’).
Implant Content Issues: Expensive medical-grade silicone, extensively tested on humans internally should be inside breast implants. PIP implants instead contain a concoction of industrial-grade silicones, similar in standard to those used for cooking oils and mattresses! Cheaper, yes. Safe? The mind boggles.
Combine these two factors and you get potential for non-medical substances to be deposited (through ruptures) or leaked (via gel bleed) into many women’s bodies! Some surgeons report figures as high as 75% gel bleed and 20% rupture rate amongst PIP implants they have removed (click here to view a sample surgeon’s spreadsheet see attached).
How Many People Are Actually Effected?
PIP Implants were quite popular as a cost-effective breast implant option across the UK, Europe and South America. At one time, PIP was the third largest manufacturer of breast implants!
- A whopping 47,000 women in the UK are estimated to be victims of this PIP implants balls-up. Until 15th March 2012, the Department of Health claimed that all women with PIP implants from before 2001 were OK. Their acknowledgement that nobody has any real idea when PIP started using substandard silicone meant that 7000 more women began their PIP nightmare (see the official statement relating to this).
- Approximately 400,000 PIPettes worldwide
- These numbers could still rise: new cases come forward every day
- Of the UK numbers, around 14,000 were implanted by The Harley Medical Group and 5021 by Transform. Only approximately 791 were provided by the NHS for more on numbers, see the DoH statistical press notice.
This is the largest-scale breast implant product recall that many working in the cosmetic surgery industry can remember. For numbers, gravity and media attention it certainly tops the
Hydrogel implants recall of 2000 (which, incidentally, also involved Team PIP. Funny that.)
When Did Sh*t First Hit the Fan?
This whole sorry mess has been going on longer than many experts would have us believe and a number of people in positions of authority have been aware of the situation at various points along the way. Click here for our PIP Implants Timeline to view the sequence of events.(clicking link diverts to PIP Implants Timeline page – see page attached)