UK not advising removal of breast implants: health chief

23rd December 2011, Comments 0 comments

Britain's chief medical officer said on Friday the government was not advising some 42,000 women with breast implants made by French firm PIP to have them removed, contradicting advice in France.

The French health ministry on Friday advised some 30,000 women in France with the implants to have them taken out, saying that while there is no proven cancer risk, they could rupture dangerously.

But Chief Medical Officer Sally Davies said: "While we respect the French government's decision, no other country is taking similar steps because we currently have no evidence to support it.

"Because of this, and because removing these implants carries risk in itself, we are not advising routine removal of these implants."

Health minister Andrew Lansley said British medical authorities currently "have no evidence of a link to cancer".

He told BBC TV: "We have no evidence of toxicity, we have no evidence of substantial difference in terms of ruptures of these implants compared to others."

Some 42,000 women in Britain are thought to have the implants, according to a government watchdog, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.

The agency said it had received 411 reports of PIP implants failing in British patients since 2001.

More than 250 British women are taking court action against clinics where they had operations to insert PIP implants, and others are expected to follow suit.

The French government stressed there was no urgency to have the implants removed but the advice will likely add to the global concern about the implants made from industrial rather than medical quality silicone.

In Britain, Davies said that women with the PIP implants "should not be unduly worried," adding that the situation was being kept "under close review."

Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) was shut down and its products banned last year after it was revealed to have been using non-authorised silicone gel that caused abnormally high rupture rates in its implants.

According to PIP's 2010 bankruptcy filing in the French city of Toulon, 27 to 28 percent of exports went to western European nations including Britain, Spain, Italy and Germany between 2007 and 2009.

A larger proportion went to South American countries.

© 2011 AFP

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