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New UK guidance on controversial French implants

Protective barrier had been dispensed with - women urged to have an ultrasound

London - 18 June, 2010 - The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (, welcomes today the clarification provided by a detailed study into France's controversial PIP implants by the French Society of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery (SOFCPRE). The BAAPS, the not-for-profit organisation established for the advancement of education and practice of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery for public benefit, today issues new safety recommendations to the UK public such as a call for all women who have PIP implants to undergo an ultrasound scan in the next six months, to determine whether there is any rupture or weakening.

Despite proving unpopular with the majority of BAAPS members, it has been estimated that roughly 50,000 women in the UK could have these breast implants, as they were the product of choice for some clinics.

According to consultant plastic surgeon and BAAPS President Nigel Mercer;

"This comprehensive study concludes this situation is clearly not the fault of the surgeon, who acted in good faith - it would be similar to blaming a dealership for a faulty car. There was no way of knowing the gel was untested or that the protective envelope, which adds strength and restricts the gel from travelling into the body, had been dispensed with."

The study by SOFCPRE found that the company making PIP implants, which has now gone into administration, not only dispensed with the protective barrier since 2005 but was also using a gel (within the implant) which had not been the one tested originally for its CE mark, ie, to make its use legal. To determine how the altered version might react with the human body, SOFCPRE contacted the gel manufacturers for any studies - however, these were unavailable, as they had understood the substance to be intended for use in mattresses.

Nigel Mercer adds;

"This is certainly an unusual situation but so far there is no serious cause for alarm - whilst further tests are conducted into the substance, we recommend that women who've undergone breast augmentation contact their surgeons to find out what type of implant was used. If it's PIP they should have an ultrasound in the next six months to establish whether there is any weakening or rupture. At present removal is recommended in these cases, but if there is one ruptured implant, the contralateral one should be taken out as well, as a preventative measure."


The BAAPS (, based at the Royal College of Surgeons, is a not-for-profit organisation, established for the advancement of education and practice of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery for public benefit. Members undergo thorough background screening before they can join. Information about specific procedures and surgeons’ contact details can be found on the website, or by contacting their office at 020 7430 1840. Further materials can be posted to members of the public seeking specialised information. BAAPS is also on Twitter:   and Facebook:

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