December 1, 2022

Cosmetic surgery industry under fire after implant scandal

The UK’s cosmetic surgery industry is under fire in the wake of the liquidation of a French company which made faulty breast implants. For a number of years Poly Implant Prothese had been manufacturing breast implants with industrial grade silicon instead of medical grade. Now the implants are rupturing at a higher than normal rate and a woman has died in France of a rare cancer which appears to be related to the leakage.

 

The UK’s cosmetic surgery industry is under fire in the wake of the liquidation of a French company which made faulty breast implants. For a number of years Poly Implant Prothese had been manufacturing breast implants with industrial grade silicon instead of medical grade. Now the implants are rupturing at a higher than normal rate and a woman has died in France of a rare cancer which appears to be related to the leakage.

Earlier in the month, a few dozen women with PIP implants marched in London’s medical specialist district to protest against clinics which are refusing to remove and replace the devices. Danni Starr, 33, an accounts clerk, told the Guardian: “We feel totally fobbed off. I feel so angry that these companies can make all this money from doing this surgery, and then when there is a problem, they can’t afford to help us.”

Regulators in Venezuela, the Czech Republic and France have recommended removal, but other countries, including the UK, say that this is unnecessary. However, a British Parliamentary committee is to investigate the scandal and to ask whether lax regulation has led to a “cowboy” market amongst British clinics.

Dr Daniel Poulter, a member of the committee, told the Guardian: “We have an industry which has grown at a great pace over the last 10 years or so and the breast implants scandal has helped to shine a light on wider issues about the way the cosmetic surgery industry works. The current system leaves too much potential for cowboy surgery, and for women to be exploited.”

Some of the issue to be considered are whether private clinics should be required to provide counselling for those seeking cosmetic changes, so that doctors do not take advantage of the vulnerability of women with deep-seated psychological problems. A culture which celebrates body image creates huge pressure on some women to conform to beauty stereotypes, he warned.

“Programmes like [reality TV show]’The Only Way is Essex’ and celebrity culture and glossy magazines have glamorised cosmetic procedures and the body beautiful – but in the same way that they have had an impact on anorexia, they are also linked with psychological problems, and obsessions about appearance and body dysmorphia.”

According to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons the number of operations has more than doubled in six years, to more than 38,000 operations.

Dr Poulter said: “One of the major concerns that has emerged is about record keeping in the private sector, and about the attitude of the companies, about the responsibility they hold to look after the women they treated. We are also concerned about whether the regulators have fallen behind the industry they are regulating.” ~ Guardian, Jan 14

Michael Cook
cosmetic surgery